If you make extensive use of iTunes’ ability to rate songs, then you’ll appreciate this little but useful tidbit regarding iTunes 7.6. New in this release—to the best of my knowledge—is the ability to search for star ratings using the built-in search box. Using it is about as simple as can be: click into the search box, and type one asterisk for each star value. To find all three-star-rated songs, you’d just enter ***, two stars would be two asterisks, etc. You can also combine asterisks and other values, so Beatles *** would find any music that contains the word Beatles and is rated at least three stars.
There are a couple caveats with this new feature, however. First, it will also find songs or artists with an asterisk in their name. So if your collection includes tunes by
Si*Sé, you’ll have to get used to seeing their name in all your star rating search results. (And no, I don’t have any of their music, but I do have access to Google!) The second caveat is that iTunes runs a “greater than or equal to” search on star ratings. So if you enter three asterisks, you’ll see not only those songs you rated with three stars, but four and five stars as well.
For quick and simple searches, these caveats are probably fine. But if you’re really serious about star ratings, you should probably use Smart Playlists, as they let you use a song’s rating as one of the conditions, and the results won’t include band or song names that contain an asterisk.