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Featured Artist posted on February 10th, 2020

Featured Artist Keywords…A New Twist

By Dave Tyler

Recently I was fortunate enough to be able to travel up and down the Eastern Seaboard for two weeks visiting with great programmers and schedulers using MusicMaster. We met with more than 125 MusicMaster stations! It was an amazing trip. One of the things I walked away with was how creative and bright these guys and gals are. Not a single person uses MusicMaster in the same way, but all displayed their artistry with the program. On this trip I learned how one programmer handles a very current problem.

That issue, especially with the CHR, Urban, Hot AC and Country formats, is “Featured Artists”. Time and time again the question came up “How do I treat these featured artists as far as separation goes?”. I will give you my philosophy and then I will give you a new and creative option I learned on the trip.

Let’s say Taylor Swift has a song that features Ed Sheeran. My Artist Separation rule is set to 1:10 (1 hour and 10 minutes). This song is essentially a duet because both artists have full roles in it. In this case I would have both Taylor Swift AND Ed Sheeran in the Artist Keywords because I do not want this song playing near either another Taylor or Ed song. Now in a different example we have a Taylor Swift that features Ed Sheeran. Ed just does some minor background vocals and the song in no way comes across that Ed is on it but it is good information for your jock to bring up on the air. This would be where I run it through the separation filter in my head. Do I mind this song playing near an Ed Sheeran tune? If I do, then I will list him on the Artist Keyword. If I do not mind this song plays near an Ed song because his role is negligible, then I will leave him off the keyword. This is just how I do it.

There is however a bit of a gray area here. What if Ed has a noticeable role in the song but it would not be considered a “Duet”? What if it would not be considered an “Ed” song but gosh he is playing guitar in it in that style that is “Ed”? What if he is adding vocals that are definitely him? In this case you might want to keep this song from playing near another Ed song but you do not want Ed Sheeran to have to wait the full 1:10 before another of his songs can schedule. We often will set up a “Secondary Artist Keyword” field to accommodate that. This can get a bit tricky sometimes. So, here’s the great suggestion I heard from a programmer named John Fowlkes with Curtis Media.

He said when he has a featured artist in this situation he gives that artist two keywords. He has an Ed Sheeran keyword AND an ES keyword. If he has a full or Duet role on a song then he puts the Ed Sheeran keyword on it. However if his role is noticeable but he would be okay with another Ed Sheeran song playing in say 14 minutes then he puts “ES” in the keyword field.

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This “ES” keyword is for Ed Sheeran but allows him to put a custom time on it. He does this by going to Dataset/Library/Keywords and choosing Artist Keywords and unchecking the “Auto box and entering his custom time of 14 minutes in there.

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Remember, adding the “ES” keyword to songs where Ed Sheeran is a minor contributor only separates those songs from each other. It will not separate the “ES” songs form the “Sheeran, Ed” songs. To do that, you would also have to add the “ES” keyword to all of the songs with the “Sheeran, Ed” keyword. This ensures you separate separate the main performances from the ones where he is a contributor.

This is a very creative way of handling featured artists without having to create and manage a secondary keyword field. It’s a perfect example of the super bright MusicMaster users around the world not only using the software but pushing the limits and thinking way outside of the box! I will share more great ideas gleaned from my trip in future blogs.

If you have any questions, please contact your MusicMaster Scheduling Consultant.