Almost Perfect – Setting the Order for Your Rules posted on February 21st, 2022
Almost Perfect – Setting the Order For Your Rules
By Brian Wheeler
We’re dipping into the mailbag this time around. I had a client ask me, ‘should the rules in my rule tree be in any specific order?’ My answer is they don’t HAVE to be, but there are benefits to arranging your rules strategically.
For example, let’s say you’ve got a series of unbreakable rules enforced, and the first rule in the list is a stringent one…let’s say it’s Artist Separation. If MusicMaster tests a song for Artist Separation and the song in question breaks this unbreakable rule first, will MusicMaster keep testing or just move on? The answer is, MusicMaster will stop testing the remaining unbreakable rules and will move on to the next song in the search depth because this song can no longer be considered for the position. You’ve just saved your automatic scheduler the time and effort of testing the other rules. Of course, I have no way of quantifying how much time that saved, but efficiency is a good thing, right? My recommendation is to get those rules in an order that eliminates the most obvious songs right away.
Here’s another vote for organizing your rules by importance, this time involving breakable rules and Optimum Goals. If you’re using a combination of breakable rules and Optimum Goals, having your breakable rules in order of importance will affect how the Optimum Goals are approached. Optimum goals are applied to songs that are perfect (perfect in this case means no breakable or unbreakable rules are broken) UNLESS there are no perfect songs. Songs that break breakable rules aren’t perfect but can still be tested using a hierarchy and subsequently sent through your Optimum Goals for a clear-cut winner. Here’s a visual example with three breakable rules that are being tested.
Let’s say there are three songs for consideration that break no unbreakable rules, but each break one or more breakable rules. None of the songs are perfect, but they are all still eligible for scheduling.
Song One breaks the Play Offset Rule, which is first in the breakable rule hierarchy.
Song Two breaks only the Tempo 1 SLOW rule, which is second in the hierarchy.
Song Three breaks the same Tempo 1 SLOW rule, so these two songs have broken lesser breakable rules by virtue of hierarchy and now move on to the Optimum Goals tiebreaker. Song One will not move on for consideration in this position.
The order in which you’ve placed your breakable rules determines the importance of the rule when considering HOW imperfect the imperfect songs are. By placing your breakable rules in a pecking order, you’re communicating which rules should be considered when finding the song that’s closest to perfect amongst those that are breaking breakable rules. Optimum Goals will then step in and find the best remaining song from that elimination process.
Is this life and death stuff? No, of course not. We’re fortunate to be in an industry where decisions like this aren’t a matter of life and death. It’s not a crisis if you don’t have your rules organized perfectly. But if you want to dial in your rules just a little bit more, you could do worse than arranging your rules in an order that reflects the hierarchy in your head.
If you have any questions regarding Unbreakable rules, Breakable Rules, or Optimum Goals, feel free to reach out to your friendly neighborhood Music Scheduling Consultant to get more information.