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Trouble Shooting via the History Browser posted on June 7th, 2010

by Marianne Burkett

From time to time, most people go to their Primary Care Doctor for a physical exam, take the car in for servicing or have their home HVAC inspected – just to be sure there isn’t a problem lurking. In the same vein, it’s also wise to take a critical look at your MusicMaster database every so often.

There are a few important features in the software that can identify issues. Today, I’m going to discuss troubleshooting via The History Browser (Dataset/Analysis/History Browser).

Select all of your active categories and a time period wide enough to where you believe every song should have aired at least 1x. Your display tab should be setup in Mode “Individual Songs and should also include “Include Zero Plays”.

The reason you’d want to include Zero Plays in the report, is that there may be something in your rules stopping these songs from playing.

There might be many reasons a song did not play, all based upon your rules. The trick is for you to figure out what rule was the cause. Like the late Rosanna Rosanna Danna used to say – “If it’s not one thing, it’s another…but it’s always something!”

Let’s say you have Hour Rotation rules in your database. If you have a “Play Offset Window” or “Shift Rotation” rule, do you have “Max Days” engaged? Inside each specific rule are properties – so whenever you see a “Max Days” option, it’s best to select a time frame so the rule will essentially reset after that period of time. A good example is a simple Play Offset Window. If you play Silent Night by Stevie Nicks at 12 Noon on Christmas day, a play offset rule without “Max Days” set, will stop the song from playing on Christmas day next year.

Perhaps coding in your data is an issue. You can add Extra Fields to your History Browser display so you can see the coding on each song.

Another “Zero Play” red flag is Artist Separation time for a specific artist. Let’s take an artist like “Daughtry”, who may have a song in your Hot Currents, New Current, Recurrent and Power Library categories. If you have say 5 Hot Currents – playing 1x per hour, Daughtry is going to play every 5 hours. Then if you have Daughtry in New Current, and that category is also fairly small – Daughtry needs to lay down somewhere between that 5 hour period he’s turning over in Hot Current. Then, we’re looking at the Recurrent and Library cuts for Daughtry. The time between Daughtry plays becomes less and less with each pass in the scheduler. In summation, Daughtry in the Power Library category may never have the opportunity to play because of his Artist Separation…thus giving you a Zero Play. So, if you have some artists that are getting stuck because they are in Multiple Categories, you may want to consider either manually changing their Individual Artist Keyword separation times, (Dataset/Library/Keywords) or try the Keyword Separation Wizard. (Dataset/Library/Keywords/Tools/Separation Wizard). The wizard will give you recommendations you can either accept or not. It’s up to you!

No matter why a song is consistently failing – there is always a reason. As the composition of your library changes, so should your rules. Call up your Active Library and right click on any field and call up the Library Analysis on the field:

Do the rules fit the percentages? If they don’t – you’ll likely run into spin inconsistencies. Running a few simple reports in MusicMaster for Windows can identify spin problems.

As always, if you have a problem that is nagging you, contact your personal Music Scheduling Consultant.