How to: Convert Windows M4A file rating

Recently, I started to convert my music archive to M4A instead of MP3 as I did for many years before. I always used the Windows File Explorer to rate the songs in the 5 star rating system. This translated well, and was visible in Winamp for Windows, and my mobile music player of choice which was obviously using the same system of rating.
However, few weeks into creating an M4A archive, I just realized that the 5 star rating for M4A that I do in Windows (8.1) File Explorer, do not translate to Winamp type of 5 star rating. And now I'm stuck with a huge amount of unrated songs in players.

Is there a way to convert the File Explorer rating to the classic 5 star rating visible in Winamp? I see that there is a Convert>Tag-Tag option, with 3 types of rating inside, but I can't figure out how to convert the rating tags. Can someone please help?

1 Like

I'll try:
Open one of the m4a files and check the field that contains the rating.
Look at the format - how does it differ from the mp3 files?

Depending on the these differences you have to (write and) apply an action that does the conversion.
It is likely that you will see the rating only on one device: either the WE or Winamp.

I do not know for sure, what you have to do in your case, so ...
... a media file, tagged with the ID3v2.3/4 system (maybe other tagging systems too), ...
can hold one or more tag-fields for each rating method side by side in the tag, technical frame name is "POPM", ... custom names are RATING MM, RATING WMP and so on, ...
the name depends on the applied rating software.
You have to find out, if only the name of the tag-field has to be changed, ...
or if you simply have to copy the one RATING XXX to a new tag field RATING YYY, ...
or if you indeed have to convert the technical rating values from one measurement system to the other.

Which rating related tag-field custom name do you see in the Mp3tag dialog "Extended Tags..." for a rated M4A file, technical frame/atom name is "rate", which you have rated in Windows 8.1?

See also ...


What do you mean by "open one of the m4a files"? If you mean to open them in mp3tag and go into "extended tags...", there isn't any of the 3 rating types there, even though the file is rated in File Explorer. I assume File Explorer should make WMP rating? Even if it does, there is no Rating WMP in the "Extended tags..."

How can I find that out?

None. Although the file is definitely rated in Windows Explorer.

If there is no field in the tag then MP3tg cannot convert it.
If the WE somehow manages to keep the rating then it should be possible to get a file list (with the search function of WE) which you can d&d into MP3tag. There you can add the rating in a way so that WInamp understands it.

As I see it: as the rating is not stored in the files it cannot be read by any other program, neither MP3tag nor Winamp.

I assume you are right.

I can just search all *.m4a files in the archive and import them to MP3tag. Because it's all the M4A files that don't have tags. That's not a problem. But how can I "convert" the file tags from File Explorer into any of the RATING tags? I'm talking about thousands of files. It would be crazy to rate them all one by one by entering rating numbers manually for each file song...

EDIT1: I don't seem to be able to rate the M4A files from Winamp or from mobile player. The tags don't get saved. Not even even in the same app/program. For instance; i rate the M4A file in Winamp and close it. When I open it again, the Winamp rating is gone. The File Explorer rating is still there. Just not visible in anything but File Explorer.
EDIT2: I don't even seem to be able to create any rating at all for my m4a files in mp3tag. I tried adding all 3 rating tags (MM, Winamp, WMV), and none worked.

So rating tags don't work for m4a at all?

See this help page for fields in the various players/formats:

The interesting part would be: can you edit any of the files? It would not make any sense if you simply could not edit a single field.
I know of some mp4 files that, once they have been ripped for the first time, do not allow any modification.

Hm ... I have just manually inserted "RATING xxx" tag-fields into a MP4/M4A file, see attached picture ...

... but I do not know, if it makes any sense.

Hm ... the "File Explorer" is an iTunes App, right?
Maybe there is a database in the background, where your ratings has been stored?


I read the help, and everything seems to be clear. I go to Extended tag>Add field>Choose any of the 3 RATING fields>choose 1-5 rating...the file gets resaved, but the rating doesn't show anywhere. Not in File Explorer. Not in any players I use.
I can change any of default tags which are offered for m4a files in mp3tag. Those work just fine.

OK. I see you entered rating "1" for all rating types in mp3tag. But does it show in players?

No. File Explorer is just that; a Windows 8.1 File Explorer. The built-in File Browser.

That was just a simple test to see if Mp3tag can create tag-fields or not.

Search the forum for "rating" und you will find a bunch of postings.
Once I did a test for RATING MM ...
Rating and mp3tag/MediaMonkey sync problem
... but in the meantime there might happened changes on the MM side regarding the decimal values in relation to the rating classes.


I did the search thing extensively. There are indeed few threads regarding rating, and some for m4a rating. Not just here, but on other related forums. I've seen bunch of theories and analyzing, with complicated "coding" stuff and terms like "atoms" etc, but nothing I could use to make the rating show up in any of my player apps/programs.

I guess I won't bother anymore. Since I don't want to go back to MP3, I'll just keep rating the M4A in Windows File Explorer and hope that at some point soon someone will implement the rating in a proper way as it doesn't really work now. At least not for a regular Joe like me.

Thanks for help.

How I rate M4A files so that the rating can be seen in Winamp.

In Mp3tag create this mapping:
Tag: M4A
Source: Rate
Target: Popularimeter

In Mp3tag create a new field in the tag panel:
Name: Rating (or whatever you want)

In Mp3tag create a new column:
Name: Rating (or whatever you want)
Value: %popularimeter%
Field: %popularimeter%

Edit files in Mp3tag as usual. Use the desired numerical rating:
20 - 1 star in Winamp
40 - 2 stars in Winamp
60 - 3 stars in Winamp
80 - 4 stars in Winamp
100 - 5 stars in winamp

I'll try that. Thanks.

In the meantime, I just found out about MediaMonkey. Rating and tagging there is extremely feature-rich and flawless for all kind of files! And wouldn't you know it, it shows up everywhere! In File Explorer, Winamp and all mobile players I use.

Actually everything about it that I have seen so far is nothing short of impressive. It's like Winamp, Foobar and mp3tag combined in one tool with bunch of stuff that I have been missing all these years. And I love the UI. I'm sold. I wish I knew about it earlier.