Everyday I’m Shufflin’ posted on July 24th, 2023
by Dave Tyler
I get a call about once per week where a programmer is asking if it is possible to “Shuffle” the schedule order of a category. The answer is a big YES. To keep it simple before taking a deeper dive, to do a basic “Full Shuffle” go to Dataset/Schedule/Schedule Order and click on the “Arrange Songs In This Category” icon. You can also right click anywhere in the Info Bar and choose Schedule Order as well.
The next box that pops up defaults to the “Full Shuffle”. The Full Shuffle is simply a random shuffle of the category. Sometimes folks will choose this when they begin to sense a predictable pattern of a category and just want to freshen up the order. You can choose a single category or multiple categories.
It is important to note that if you are a song history buff and love looking at your rotations and histories and seeing that nice wave of a song moving through hours and quarter hours, that a shuffle will disrupt that pattern briefly upon the next scheduling session because the order has changed and therefore the pattern has changed. It will plane out again as you continue to schedule.
A full shuffle is kind of a generic shuffle just to mix things up, but MusicMaster offers many more options when it comes to how or what you shuffle. Clicking on the dropdown menu, you get these incredible options.
A quick look in the robust MusicMaster “Help Section” defines what each of these does.
For more information on how to use our great Help section check out this blog post: https://musicmaster.com/?p=8397
One of my favorite shuffle options is the “Optimize By Field”. If you have a new library and are adding a bunch of songs by a single artist, or perhaps your format has a huge amount of “Featured” artists on songs and it is a challenge to schedule because of this, then this is a pretty amazing feature. Using the example above, if I “Optimize by Field” and choose “Artist Keywords” it will separate all the songs by each artist as far apart from each other in the schedule order as mathematically possible. So, if you’re a Classic Rock station and just added 50 Rolling Stones songs to a category, then this will separate them from each other to make scheduling easier. My other example was featured artists on songs. Just about every format from Latin to R&B, Country to CHR is inundated with featured artists. When Optimizing by Artist Keyword, MusicMaster tries to optimize all of the artists on the song. Just plain cool! Now of course if you add 50 Rolling Stones songs, they are not going to schedule back to back even if they are in that order in the Schedule Order because of Artists Separation rules and others. But by shuffling this way, it makes the process easier from the start because the order is more natural and comfortable. Speaking of the difficulties of featured artists, here is a link to a blog with some cool ideas and solutions to deal with this: https://musicmaster.com/?p=7733
Another question I get a lot is “How often should I shuffle?”. There is not really a black and white answer to this. You don’t need to shuffle ever, but you may want to shuffle for a variety of reasons, many of which we discussed above. If you add a bunch of new music or feel like you are hearing the same songs scheduled near each in a similar order, then you may choose to shuffle. It really comes down to your philosophy and there is no wrong answer. The only thing to keep in mind is the shuffle does change the schedule order, which is what you want, but you can expect it to affect your history pattern initially. So if you see the hiccup in the pattern, it is nothing to be alarmed by.
Shuffling is just one more way MusicMaster helps you control and tailor the sound of your radio station.
Stack’em and Count’em: Numbering Song Rotation Order posted on February 7th, 2022
Stack ‘em and Count ‘em
By Chris Malone
Several brilliant mainstream format programmers have reached out wanting to zero in on the rotation of their cream of the crop Power songs and fully understand the scheduling pattern of the standard card file method in MusicMaster. Little known fact, you can establish the desired slot position, trace the slot, and even visually see AutoBurn in real time by creating a text field that serves as a numbering system for your Power Currents.
We can all agree this history graph reflects a mainstream, hyper turnover power category that looks spectacular inside the Turnover Analysis. To achieve such great rotation requires that a Power category bypass all category rules and have no specific category rules, so songs can plot in a natural order. Under Dataset, Schedule, Schedule Properties – you’ll also want a category like this to have a search depth of 1. The category order management (Dataset, Schedule, Schedule Order) should be switched to standard card file.
Now here’s where you zero in, you can create a numbering system that allows you to establish rotation position number for each song. It serves as a verification that the right things are happening as expected under the hood; furthermore, when a song is moved from Power Currents, a new song can replace that specific rotation position without disrupting the category’s natural turnover.
In this example, I’ve created a simple text field called “Rotation”, the songs in the category are numbered 1-7. Keep in mind this is a simple text field. There’s nothing dynamic or rule related to this field other than it allows the user to create a numbering system for these songs and create a desired stack order in the standard card file of this category. Remember, any number entered in this field will ‘travel’ with the song to any other category until the number data from that field is physically deleted or modified by the user.
When you go to Dataset, Schedule, Schedule Order for the Power Current category, I can add a field to include the ‘Rotation’ field and I can put these songs in the desired schedule order and let it rip. A common misconception is that the schedule order is your desired rotation order and that’s not the case. The schedule order simply shows what song is next in the standard card file to schedule.
In the example above, the song at rotation position #6 is next up to schedule, in my desired rotation stack order. When a song is moved out of the category at any given rotation position, the incoming song can replace that rotation position in your desired stack order to prevent in wobbles in rotation.
You can even add this “Rotation” field to your schedule editor to follow along to ensure your Powers are rotating in the standard card file order you designed through out the scheduled day.
For more on category order management or how to create a text field in your database, please reach out to your MusicMaster Music Scheduling Consultant.
Airplay Contracts posted on October 7th, 2019
By Jesus Rodriguez
Have you ever had to manage a song or promo as a priority? Have you ever been told that a song or promo should only air for a certain contract period? For our U.S. clients and some in certain parts of the world, your mind may be going a hundred miles per hour after that comment. (Let me take this moment to thank you for making MusicMaster the most used music scheduling software in the world!) That said, worldwide, many countries do not have the same regulations as others.
Here’s how to use this for either a song, a promo, or anything else that falls under this topic. Go to your library, right click on any element, and select Airplay Contracts. You will get the following screen:
If the item already has a contract, it will be listed here, or you can create one by selecting New. This will take you to the window where you can determine the Contract Period and its Daily Requirements, as well as the minimum plays. You also have the option to select days of the week where this contract should be applied.
There are no additional steps to set this up. This was created for when minimum number of plays are needed for an item in your library. If there is a promo or song that must play 10 times daily for a month, then using this tool, you can specify the number of plays during the designated time. Now, keep in mind that these songs should play naturally and that this is not a method to force plays. There are also no rules or scheduling tools that work with Airplay contracts at this time, but you can run the Ready Check to see if there are any issues with the contract requirements.
Song Merge posted on April 22nd, 2019
By Marianne Burkett
Today I’d like to dive into something new in Version 7, Song Merge. What exactly is it?
Let’s say you identify a few duplicate songs in your station. You can A: delete one of them; or, B: Merge the two or more duplicate songs into one; or, C: hoard all your duplicates!! We don’t recommend A because you’ll likely lose information, like play history. We recommend B using the new feature in Version 7, Song Merge. The benefit of this feature is that it looks in many places to consolidate information. That means you’ll have all your play history and trivia combined. Things like forced instances in a clock, listings in a song list and play/library counters are all updated. Song Merge combines all of that while deleting the duplicates. Nothing is lost and you’ll end up with one song card that combines all the important information you want.
The first thing you’ll do is select all the duplicate songs. Right click on the pointer column (blue arrow in the left column) and select the songs. Right-click to open the context menu and select “Merge” then pick Selected Songs. There are other options here and depending on how you made your list, you can pick the right one.
Here’s a capture of three different instances of Gerry Rafferty “Baker Street”. The first column shows the song as played in its original category followed by two other instances. Notice each instance has a different WO Number. One new instance is longer and the other is a radio edit. Okay, now decision time! I think I’ll start using the radio edit rather than the full six-minute version. How to do this? Click on the fields you’d like to retain. The boxes will turn blue. Be sure you scroll all the way down the list to see all the fields.
After I click OK I’m keeping/merging the song in the first column (note Save as the column header), adding any play history, trivia from the songs on the right (note Delete as the column header) and replacing the data I want to replace with the information in the blue boxes. I can click any cell to make it blue so its information is saved.
Click OK and you’ll get a verification pop up:
Once I’ve completed the operation, the duplicates disappear and only one “Baker Street”, the radio edit, will be in my library.
If you have a reason to keep your duplicates, be sure you have something in place to help you at least combine the histories, like putting a Title Keyword in place or a History Link.
As always, if you have any questions about any feature in MusicMaster, please contact your Music Scheduling Consultant.
Introduction to the Mass Changer utility in MusicMaster Windows posted on June 24th, 2010
If you haven’t had the opportunity (or the need) to utilize the mass changer, here is a quick overview. The Mass Changer utility is available in Library Maintenance by right clicking on the header row in the QuickEditor or in the field column of the Song Card. If the field does not allow mass changes, the option will not appear. These fields include:
Add Date, Category, Category Plays, Dayparting, Library Plays, Non-Music, Packet, Performance, and Song ID.
The Mass Changer will default to the field you clicked on originally, but you will be able to select any available field by selecting the Target Field.
When you have selected a field to change, you can select from the available mass change Operations. The type of operations available will change depending upon whether you are in a keyword, attribute or text field.
Options available to you (again depending on field type) include:
Convert to UPPER, lower, mixed case case.
Add, remove and assign specific keyword.
Clear field contents.
Extract sub-string and delimited sub-strings.
Assign sequential values.
Search and Replace
Plus several more!
There is also a separate mass changer available for keywords.
Please remember to back up your data before you utilize this tool, and don’t hesitate to contact us if we can assist in advising on the best option for your project.
Saving Time With the Mass Changer posted on May 17th, 2010
By Drew Bennett
Have you ever taken a new job at a radio station and walked in to find the data is a complete mess? I akin it to an apartment or house that other people have lived in before you…but they never totally moved out and now you’re faced with the uphill battle of making it your own and cleaning up!
One thing that can seem daunting is music cleanup. The idea of changing 2000 songs to show all upper case letters seems like a nightmare if you tackle it by hand. And if that’s the only way you can do it, I would bet you’d say to yourself, “…not worth it.” Well, in MusicMaster, that is a lot easier and this week, I want to make you aware of the Mass Changer in MusicMaster because it can save you more time than you might imagine. First things first; how do you get to the Mass Changer in MusicMaster for Windows? Well, when you look at the library you should see all of the fields for a song that you currently have in your layout. If you right click at the top of the field right on the field name itself, you will see the Mass Changer in the context menu. Clicking on that brings up the Mass Changer box.
The Mass Changer is actually very simple to use but very powerful in its ability to save time. When the Mass Changer box pops up, you will see two drop down boxes and a Properties section down at the bottom. The first drop down box simply asks what field you want to mass change. The second drop down box displays the kind of change you will make. For this example, let’s decide to change all of our Artist names from Upper Case to Mixed Case. Maybe you have a lot of records that were entered into the data in all upper case and then you have several records with mixed case in the library. First, right click on the Artist field name in the data and find Mass Changer in the context menu. Click it to bring up the Mass Changer box. “Artist,” will already be filled in for the Target field and you can go right to the operation drop down box. In that box, find “Convert Text To Mixed Case,” and choose it. Now, in the Properties section, you can choose to change all songs or just marked songs and you can choose to confirm each change or not. When you hit OK, MusicMaster changes your songs from upper case to mixed case and makes any other adjustments it sees throughout the Artist field data that require a change.
See? What could have taken you hours or maybe days has just taken less than a minute. What a time saver! Not only that, you can peruse the list of changes you can make within the Mass Changer and you will find that the options are endless with all of the things you can do there. Maybe you want to assign a specific keyword to a large list of songs. Maybe you want to assign a specific attribute to a group of songs. You might even need to remove data from a song or clear out a field altogether. All of that can be done with the Mass Changer in MusicMaster. What options you have will change depending on the field you pick.
I encourage you to explore all of the creative ways you can modify your data using this powerfull feature. You will find more time for other things when you use it to manage your MusicMaster database. Happy scheduling!
Changing it up for Summer! Seasonal Psychology posted on May 7th, 2010
By Marianne Burkett
Summer is coming and thoughts of warm afternoons at the park, pool or beach start circling your brain. You can’t wait. What you’re wondering right now is should you adjust your station programming to reflect the psychology of the season? Is that going to cause you hours of agonizing work in editing logs, or can you easily adjust your rules to force those summer fun songs into each hour? (more…)
Organize your Categories posted on May 3rd, 2010
By Marianne Burkett
For those MusicMaster users who like to change clocks, add new categories and think of new ways to program your station – hats off to you!
One thing that happens when you add categories, is that your Info Bar starts to grow in size and becomes unorganized. When you create new categories they always fall to the bottom of the list on the Info Bar. You should open the Category Editor and arrange your Info Bar so it makes sense. (more…)
Start and End Day/Hour posted on March 23rd, 2010
By Paul Ziino
Now that spring is officially here, it’s a good time to make plans for your “summertime songs”. You can load them into your database today, but not allow them to start scheduling until Summer arrives.
First, you’ll want to add the “Start Day/Hour” and “End Day/Hour” field to your library grid layout.
Then go to the “Start Day/Hour” field in your library grid, or “Starts” on the song card view. Double-click in that field and select the date and time you’d like that song to become eligible. If you don’t fill in a time, midnight will be the default. You can use “End Day/Hour” or “Ends” field to effectively kill that song at the end of summer, too.
And there are no rules to turn on to make this happen–they’re built-in!
This comes in handy for those songs you only want to run June through August, or only in December, but keep them in the regular rotation categories all the time.