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MusicMaster Blog

Changing Automation Systems with MusicMaster posted on February 1st, 2010

By Marianne Burkett

So, your VP, owner or General Manager has announced that you will soon be switching to a different Automation system. You may be excited or you may be anxious about the new system coming in. With the number of clients we have here at MusicMaster… we’ve seen many stations approach this in various ways. I feel confident that this blog can provide you with some insight and steps you can take to make the switch less complex and overwhelming.

The first thing you should do when you’re ready to start the project, is to Clone your Database. Continue using your original database to schedule music until the day of the flip – but make all your changes on the clone.

Rest assured, most of the Automation systems we see use an Automation number to identify each song in the database. The number one question to ask your Automation vendor is “Can we use the existing numbers”? Being able to use the same number certainly simplifies the process – but is not always possible.

If that’s not possible, you can use an empty field from your MusicMaster database for the new number. Go to (Dataset/Library/Fields) and find a text field you currently don’t use and rename it. If you don’t have an extra field and you are using MusicMaster version 7 or later, you can create one using the Add Field button on the lower left. Otherwise, you can contact your Music Scheduling Consultant for assistance.

There are various ways to add the new numbers, but I feel the easiest way is to give the vendor a complete list of your library in Excel form, sorted by Artist and Title. If you are unsure of how to generate an Excel list of your library from MusicMaster – call your Scheduling Consultant to learn how to copy/paste to and from MusicMaster. Or you can always log in to Support area of our website and check out the training video “How to Copy/Paste to and from MusicMaster”. Then, the Vendor can add their numbers to that list and give it back to you. As long as the list is identical and sorted the same way you can simply copy/paste the new number into your new empty automation field. There is always the old fashioned way of manual entry – but that takes a bit of time!

Another thing to consider is what might be in your clocks between the songs. You may use “Lognotes” for Stopsets, Time Updates, Syncs and Directives, even non-music. Every Automation system uses different “syntax”. In MusicMaster – once you know how to write your new lognotes – you can simply use the Lognote Editor (Dataset/Clocks/Lognote Text) to change the way your lognotes are written.

Once you have your new automation numbers attached to your songs and your lognote syntax corrected, your Export Design will need to be adjusted as well. Again, call your Music Scheduling Consultant for help with the export. We probably already have the design set up, so it will just be a quick call to install that in your cloned database.

We don’t have a magic wand or “Easy Button” to get the project done, but we can certainly save you some time and alleviate the stress associated with the changes.