itunes increments skip count at random

Dear Lazyweb,

Can anyone explain to me the rules iTunes uses to decide whether clicking "Next" should update the skip count of a track? It updates it every now and then but I can't figure it out. Certainly it's not as simple as: "press Next when more than N seconds has played."

I have smart playlists that would like to rely on the Last Played and Last Skipped dates, and so far those values appear to be completely full of fucking lies.

Update: Ok, it's possible that it only marks the track skipped if you hit "next" between 2 and 20 seconds, as a few people have said, but there seems to be a whole laundry list of exceptions on top of that. For example, I think that it doesn't mark it as skipped if you have ever hit pause, or moved the playback position slider, or if you skip by any method other than the "next" button (e.g., double-clicking a later song doesn't mark the current song as skipped). But I'm not sure.

I was hoping that someone with access to the source would tell me what the fuck it's actually doing, because reverse-engineering this egregiously non-obvious behavior is not simple.

Is there any way to modify this behavior, maybe with a plugin? I want to turn off all those exceptions and the 20 second cutoff.

The problem here is that I have smart playlists that try to exclude songs that were played or skipped within the last week, and it seems that most of the time when I skip a song, it is marked as neither skipped nor played, so I keep hearing it again! Apparently I never make it to the skip button before 20 seconds, and whatever the cutoff time is for marking a song "played"... I come in before that.

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6 Responses:

  1. Some Dude On The Internet says it's "pressed next in the first 20 seconds or so" of the song; other people say it only counts if the song was playing, not paused. Does that seem plausible to you?

  2. rane500 says:

    I'll have to do some additional testing when I get home because I haven't looked at that in a while, but for some reason I keep thinking this might be one of those values that is only updated via the iPod/Phone.

  3. unxmaal says:

    According to some Apple doc somewhere, that field only increments if you skip the song on or after the second second (ha!) and the twentieth second.

  4. lafinjack says:

    I would also like the played count to tick like it does with Audioscrobbler, i.e. at 50% or more. If a song has a long outro and I'm trying to skip or replay it during that outro, it doesn't get counted as played unless I act in the last ~10 seconds of the song.

    I would also like foobar2000 to not be crazy so I can try it out and hopefully get rid of iTunes.