What does the star mean on Apple Music?

Iram Sharifah Khan October 30, 2020
What does the star mean on Apple Music?
Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

What does the star icon mean on Apple Music? Avid listeners have noticed a little star-shaped icon appear next to certain songs, which sparked the question: what does it mean? And why does it end up next to some songs but not others?

What does the star mean on Apple Music?

Apple support have posted a cursory explanation on their Twitter, but this left fans feeling unsatisfied, as a more detailed answer is nowhere to be found on the Apple Music website.

Determined to get to the root of this, fans took to Apple community forums and social media instead to discuss it. One Reddit user asks:

Finally, an answer

The star is given to a track depending on how well it does. Generally, the star will appear next to a song if it is the most popular or most played one on an album.

The older version of iTunes used a star rating. Users could show how much they enjoyed a song by marking it up or down by a few stars.

In the meantime, however, this system was removed and the single star replaced it as an indicator of a song’s popularity. The single star also lets users know which tracks they might enjoy based on their listening history and music tastes.

How many plays does it take to earn a star on Apple Music?

How a song earns a star is not explained directly as far as we can see. Still, Apple support have pointed one Twitter user to the Apple Music for Artists section on their website, when they asked for further clarification.

A lot of people on the Apple community are unhappy about this feature, with one user explaining: “Apple thinks you should like that song. They don’t understand we can make our own decisions and that it is actually annoying.”.

Another says, “So, Apple no longer lets us rate our own songs, but they let other people tell us. So much for freedom of choice. I’m going back to iOS9”.

Users are hoping to see the star feature updated or improved on the next Apple iOS version.

How to find the most listened to song on Apple Music

Apple Music has its own dedicated section to find out the most-played song on the platform – Apple Music for Artists. Here, users can look at the analytics of a song to see: how many times it’s been played, average daily listeners, purchases and much more.

Now, the next time your friend asks you, “what does the star mean on Apple Music?”, you will have a one-up.

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Iram is a London-based freelance journalist with a BA in Journalism and Media from Birkbeck University. She studied several modules, including Journalism in British Life, Interview skills and Feature Writing, Introduction to Journalism Practice and Manga and Anime. Iram went from university to work with GRV Media at The Focus Writers’ Academy and enjoys learning Japanese, taking singing lessons, playing video games and watching Korean dramas in her spare time.