MusicMaster Scheduling
Your viewing experience of the MusicMaster website, as well as the web as a whole, would be much improved if you upgraded your browser.

MusicMaster Blog

Which Rules are a Top Priority? posted on February 27th, 2024

By Chris Hulsether

What rules are the most important? Which ones do you want to pass first? Why does it matter? That’s what we are talking about here.

First, let’s break down the Rule Tree. You will have folders for Breakable and Unbreakable Rules.

The first folder you see in the tree is for All Categories, and it includes Breakable and Unbreakable folders. These rules apply to all categories. So, if you have a gold-based format and you want to apply Artist Keyword Time Separation to every song, drag the rule over from available rule types and place it in one of the folders. This will apply to All Categories, and you won’t have to put the same rule in each category.

A screenshot of a computer

Description automatically generated

But what if you want the rule to apply to MOST categories instead of ALL categories? Right click on All Categories and select Rule Tree Properties. That’s where you can select which categories should be bypassed. Meaning they will not be subject to rules in All categories.

You can then set rules for those categories inside each individual category’s folder where they can play by different rules. Typically, Imaging categories or small high rotating current music categories would have different rules than the rest of your categories.

You can also set which rules should have highest priority. By default, the All-Categories rules get tested first and then the individual categories get tested. But in the Rule Tree properties, you can switch it so that Individual categories are on top, and the Individual category rules will be tested first. Once an Unbreakable rule fails in All Categories, the Automatic scheduler will not bother to test against the others. So, whatever rules you list first are most important. You should have your rules listed in order of importance. For example, if you list a Sound code rule first and a song fails that rule, it will keep it from scheduling, but if Artist Keyword Time Separation is more important you may want the song to clear that rule before testing other rules that may not be as important.

Of course, MusicMaster will stop testing once it fails an Unbreakable Rule, and that song will be skipped. But it will also stop when it fails the first Breakable Rule. That song may still be in the running, but MusicMaster will move onto checking the next song to see if it performs better. There’s no point in worrying about lower priority rules if a higher priority one fails.

To see the order in which your Rules are tested, you can bring up the Rule List. Right-click on the category in your Rule tree and select View Category Rule list. This will show you the order in which the rules will be tested.

Note that you can also create more Breakable folders if you need. For example, right-click on Breakable 1 and choose Add Breakable Rule Folder, and a Breakable 2 will be created.

A screenshot of a computer

Description automatically generated

You may ask: Why would you want to have multiple Breakable rule folders? It has to do with the way the rules are all merged together when testing. Remember, rules are tested in order of importance. So the rules in each Breakable folder on your rule tree will merge with the rules in their corresponding numbered folder. This keeps all your higher priority rules above your lower priority rules, no matter which category folder they came from.

Prioritizing your rules can make it easier for the Automatic Scheduler to find the best songs possible for you and can reduce the number of unscheduled songs you may get. If you have any questions, talk to your Music Scheduling Consultant.


Max Plays Per Day posted on January 29th, 2024

By Jesus Rodriguez

We often get calls where the perfect song with no rule violations plays way too many times in the day because it is the perfect item for any scenario in your station’s music log. The question that comes up is if there is a way to prevent a song form playing so many times, and the first thing most clients think of is minimum rest. That can help, but once that rest is accomplished, guess which song will likely be able to schedule right away?

Instead, you can use Max Plays Per Day. I realize that Max Plays Per Day is not a rule that many know exists, so I decided to write a blog on that topic, and it is a very easy one at that too.

The Max Plays Per Day Rule is located here:

A screenshot of a computer program

Description automatically generated

Drag and drop it into your desired category or rule section.

A screenshot of a computer error

Description automatically generated

You can then place a number representing the quantity of plays that any given song will be allowed to play from within that category. However, if you place a zero there, you can control the quantity of plays each song will be able to play individually on a song-by-song basis. Placing a zero will allow you to have a different number of maximum plays per day per song so they are not all the same, as they would be if you were to place a number here within the rule tree.

If you decide to place a zero to give each song a different max number of plays per day, there is an additional step to assign the play count per day to each song. You will have to open your category in the Library and include the Max Per Day field in your library grid view so you may type in the amount of plays you prefer for each song. Remember, you still have to have the rule in the rule tree in order for this to work, but it must be set to zero.

A screenshot of a computer

Description automatically generated

Once the field is added to your view you may begin to place the desired number of plays per each song. If left blank that item will continue to rotate as it always has in the past with no restrictions.

A screenshot of a computer

Description automatically generated

We hope this will help you with controlling your number of plays per day. If you have any questions on this topic, please contact our team of music scheduling support representatives.

Maximum Rest vs Absolute Maximum Rest posted on January 22nd, 2024

by Paul Ziino

There are lots of rules available in your Rule Tree. I see these two used frequently, but they are often misunderstood.

First, what does Maximum Rest do? When you place Max Rest in your active Rule Tree, it acts as a turnoff point. Once the time has been met as set in your Max Rest rule, any rules that come after it are turned off, thus making the song a priority for scheduling. Here’s my rule list for category H-Hot Recurrents.

Max Rest is set to 1d 13:00. Once a song has rested longer than 1d 13:00, Maximum Rest will turn off the rules that follow. Basically, once a song has rested 1d 13:01, we no longer will test the Tempo rules in this example. You will see this in the Schedule Editor represented by rules that are listed in black—black rules are not being tested. (The two rule groups that appear in black do so because they have time restrictions and are not being tested at this point in the schedule.)

Notice I said Maximum Rest turns off the rules that come after it. Maximum Rest does not turn off Optimum Scheduling Goals. So if the Goals are in place, they will still play a part in the automatic scheduling process.

But there is another rule option available if you really want to ensure the song plays, no matter what. If Absolute Maximum Rest is exceeded, the song is immediately scheduled right then and there without regard to any existing rule failures or Optimum Goals.

To summarize, Maximum Rest will turn off the rules that come after it, while Absolute Maximum Rest turns off the rules and the goals that come after it in the rule hierarchy.

As always, if you have questions on this or any other MusicMaster related topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team. We’re happy to assist!


Rule Tree Filters posted on April 26th, 2023

What Rules are we using and where are they?

by Chris Hulsether

What if I told you, you could save time and find out what rules you are using and where they are in your Rule Tree?

Maybe you just took over a database and you have no idea what the person who had it before you were doing. You see all these available rules and you’re wondering “What are we doing?” and “Where are the rules set up in my Rule Tree?” Maybe you see a rule that you want to use, but you are not sure if has already been set up. Maybe you have a lot of categories and you don’t want to go through each category one by one to see what rules they have. Or maybe you could be getting unscheduled events in your log because of a rule you didn’t know you had, and you want to find where it’s being used so you can adjust it or get rid of it.

To help see these things easier, you can Filter your Rule Tree to identify everywhere a specific rule is being used. It’s a quick and easy way to see what rules you are using and which ones you are not.

First, go to your Rule Tree using the Dataset/Rule Tree or clicking the toolbar icon.

On the left is your Rule Tree with all the rules you are using. On the right is the list of all the available rules you can use.

To expand your rule tree folders or the available rule folders, click on the little square box with the plus sign in it.

You can also right click on the Category and select Expand or Collapse to open or close it. If you right click on the words in bold MusicMaster Rule Tree you can Expand or Collapse all the categories at once. The same can be done on Available Rule Types.

Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated

In your Rule Tree you will see the Breakable and Unbreakable folders. Unbreakable means MusicMaster will not violate the rules in that folder when you auto schedule or when the replacement window is choosing the “perfect” songs to choose from. Breakable means the rules inside the folder will attempt to be followed, but if the software cannot find another song to schedule that passes those rules, it will break the rule as a last resort.

Graphical user interface

Description automatically generated with low confidence

To Filter the Rule Tree

Right click on any available rule on the right.

Once selected, the left column will show you everywhere the rule is being used. If it’s not being used, the left side will be blank.

To clear the Filter, look for the icon of the filter with an x on it.

MusicMaster is all about saving time and working as quickly as possible. Ask your Music Scheduling Consultant for assistance if needed.


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.



DMCA Rules Made Easy in MusicMaster! posted on December 27th, 2021

By Laurie Knapp

If you have a streaming station, you’re likely very familiar with DMCA, or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The boring backstory is that these are a set of US copyright laws that were enacted in 1998 to implement treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization to prevent the illegal copying of music. In a nutshell, the DMCA sets rules for what can be legally broadcast on internet radio. You can find a handy breakdown of all the regulations here (

In addition to rules limiting things like rebroadcasts and program announcements, the DMCA also has guidelines for how often albums and artists can play. That’s where MusicMaster comes in!

Specifically, the rules state that within a three-hour time period:

  1. You must not play more than three different songs from the same album, with no more than two of such songs played consecutively.
  2. You must not play more than four different songs from the same compilation/set, with no more than three of such songs played consecutively.
  3. You must not play more than four different songs by the same featured artist, with no more than three of such songs played consecutively.

If you have a lot of the same artist or album in rotation, or a lot of music sourced from compilations, this might actually present a challenge for you. Sure, you could set time separation rules on your artists and albums, but can you be sure you’re doing enough?

Fortunately, there’s a special MusicMaster rule that makes it easy to keep track of whether you’re meeting these regulations. It’s called DMCA Performance. You can find it in your rule tree if you look under your Keyword Field or Text Field rules, where you have your artist, title or album fields.


Description automatically generated with low confidence

For the sake of meeting DMCA compliance, you’d want to add one DMCA Performance rule for your album field and one for your artist field. You might want to apply it to your All Categories folder, or to a Rule Group that contains just your music categories.

You can see from the rule settings that it addresses both DMCA requirements at once: the maximum quota and the maximum in sequence that can be played within three hours.

For Album, you’d want to set the max quota to 3 and the max in sequence to 2.

For Artist, you’d want to set the max quota to 4 and the max in sequence to 3.

Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated

What about compilations?

Chances are, your compilation album titles are stored in the same field as your single-artist albums, so the more restrictive DMCA rule you set for your Album field will apply to them as well, even though technically you could have gotten away with one more play.

If you really want to squeeze that extra play out of your compilation albums, you might consider adding a separate “Compilation Album” keyword field where you store your compilation album titles, instead of in your main album field. You could then apply a separate DMCA rule to that field with a max quota of 4 and a max in sequence of 3.

Keep in mind, if you decide to do this, you may need to create a third album field that contains ALL your album titles together. This would be the single field you reference when sending metadata to your streaming service for display, or for running required reports like Sound Exchange.

While setting up your DMCA rules, there are also some other options you can configure. For example, you can choose to ignore non-music elements so they aren’t included in the count. That way if you applied these rules to your All Categories folder, you wouldn’t end up with an unnecessary rule violation for playing more than four pieces of imaging from the same source.

You also can choose a “rule cutoff” – or the point at which you want to stop or reset the counter. These Rule Cutoffs are more commonly used with other rules, such as Segue Protection or Max in Sequence. However, they are included on the DMCA rule settings in case you need to use them.

The options include:

  • Hour Marker: Cuts off or resets the rule whenever the Scheduler encounters an Hour marker.
  • Sweep Marker: A sweep marker is designated using a LogNote position in your clock. A single sweep can’t be more than three hours long. If you choose this Rule Cutoff option, the rule will only count songs that play between two Sweep markers and will reset once it passes into the next sweep. So, for example, if you happened to schedule two songs from the same album on either side of a sweep marker, your rule wouldn’t count this as two in a row.
  • Break Element: A break element is anything that has more than a zero runtime but is not scheduled from a category, like Stopsets, Lognotes and Traffic positions. So, for example, you might only want a certain rule to count songs that fall between two traffic breaks in the hour.
  • Record Type: You can specify Music or Non-Music here. For example, you may want a rule to apply across a sequence of songs, but reset once a piece of imaging plays.

For the purposes of meeting DMCA guidelines, you’ll want to make sure you capture any potential violations within a three-hour period, so be cautious when using any of these Rule Cutoffs that you aren’t inadvertently resetting the count too soon.

One more tip: Another DMCA rule requires that you display the title of the song, title of the album and the featured recording artist. So, make sure you have that information filled into your MusicMaster library! Blank values may be read by the tracking service as “Unknown….” and you certainly don’t want to get flagged for playing three back-to-back songs from an album titled “Unknown Album”!

If you have any questions about the setup in MusicMaster, do not hesitate to contact your MusicMaster Scheduling Consultant.


Got the Slow Morning Blues? posted on August 9th, 2021

Got The Slow Morning Blues?

By Dave Tyler

I have been a Morning Man most of my 36+ year radio career and yes I was that guy going into my PD/MDs office saying “Dude please schedule something with tempo in the mornings…’s a dirge-fest in here!”. I think listeners feel the same way for the most part. Please don’t misunderstand me I LOVE ballads! I’m a Country guy and when Garth had “The Dance” out listeners demanded it and we sure played the wheels off it! However, if overall you really just want medium to fast tempos tunes to play there is a very easy way to do it in MusicMaster.

It’s going to require a Rule Group but don’t fret this process can all be done in literally five minutes assuming your songs are already coded for Tempo. Let’s get started. First, we need to make a rule group. Open your Rule Tree and under Special Rule Tree items you will find Rule Group. Drag it into your All Category Unbreakable folder like the pic below.

Graphical user interface, application, Word

Description automatically generated

The Rule Group box will pop up and there are several things to do in here. 1) In the Description box enter the name of the Rule Group. 2) Click Create/Modify button. 3) Place “X”s in the hours for your morning show. 4) Click the Save Icon, this will allow you to name this particular restriction. In my example it is “NoSlow Morning”. TIP: Adding the time frame into the name will remind you what it’s for so you don’t inadvertently change it. 5) Click Apply. This will bring you back to the original screen.

Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated

Now 1) Click on the “Categories” button and 2) place a check mark in each of the Music categories you want affected by this rule group then 3) Click OK. 4) Now click the button for “Match”. This means the categories you selected will have the NoSlow applied to them during this time period. 5) Finally bubble the “Restricted” and then 6) OK.

Graphical user interface, application

Description automatically generated

Guess what??? We’re almost done! Open your Attribute Field Rules and drag your 1-Slow & 2-Slow/Medium tempo “Not Allowed” rules into this folder. Save your Rule Tree and you’re done. No more Slow Morning Blues for you!!!!

Graphical user interface

Description automatically generated

If you have any questions just contact your dedicated Music Scheduling Consultant.

Music Scheduling Therapy posted on June 28th, 2021

Music Scheduling Therapy

By Chris Malone

If you have had the privilege of sitting in a therapy session, you are aware of the benefits of having someone look at your life’s configuration and help recommend ways to get back on track. Did you know in MusicMaster, you have a built-in music scheduling therapist at your disposal too? One of the overlooked features in your Rule Tree is the Rule Wizard that gives you a list of recommendations to make to your rule tree based upon your last scheduling session.

This feature helps determine rotations miscalculations and rules that may be off-base due to the lack of available inventory in your actively scheduled music and non-music categories. The Rule Wizard can pinpoint problems with rest settings, hour rotation rules, and indicate how your attribute rules affected the scheduling session. If you notice an abundance of unscheduled positions in your most recent scheduling session, you may want to review this list and see what your MusicMaster therapist recommends.

Graphical user interface, text, application, email

Description automatically generatedAdditionally, you can benefit from learning how to read your scheduler recap report (Dataset, Schedule, Recap Report). In this recap report, you can sort the pass percentage column by descending order, which shows me the rules that had lowest percentage of songs that pass any given active rule (both breakable and unbreakable). Watch out for unbreakable rules that have a low pass percentage, it indicates problems with that category’s ability to tolerate the current rule setup. Remember, this is a picture of the last scheduling session. You may wish to make some notes over the course of a week before making any changes to rules or other settings. A picture containing table

Description automatically generated

(For even more info on the Scheduler Recap report, check out this other blog article on the topic.)

You can lean on your built-in MusicMaster scheduling therapist or you can call your MusicMaster Scheduling Consultant, have a seat on the couch and tell us your problems.

Custom Rule Settings for Special Sets posted on January 14th, 2019

By Dave Tyler

I had an interesting call the other day. The client is a talented super-user at one of the great radio stations using MusicMaster and he had an interesting dilemma. He uses “Special Sets” to schedule customized Artist Intros into songs. He has 3 of these Special Sets in each hour but only wants them to play a maximum of once an hour and on top of that not always in the same spot. The first thought would be to use a Max Quota per hour rule or Min/Max rule of some sort but the problem would be that if we set it at 60 minutes then it would always become available at the same time. Here is our solution to this unique request.

We decided to re-purpose a Yes/No Field and then add a Time Separation rule to it. To begin with go to Dataset/Library/Fields. I clicked on the header for Type twice to list the fields in descending Alphanumeric order as you can see below.

It turns out there was an available “User” field that I could use. You may have a Yes/No field you are not using and you can simply directly enter the name(type) into Name and abbreviation. If for any reason you do not have a  field available any of our Music Scheduling Consultants would be happy go  “Under the hood” and add one for you. It is as easy as sending us your data. I renamed the field “Artist Intros”. Now I open my Artist Liners category and add the new Yes/No field to my layout by clicking on the Show/Hide Fields icon, locating the field and dragging into my layout.

Now when I return to my Artist Intros category I have the new field with empty boxes. Place a check mark in each box to indicate “Yes”.

Now we open our Rule Tree and open the “Unbreakable” folder for the Artist Intros category on the left and the Yes/No Rules on the right. We then dragged the rule into the Unbreakable folder and set it for 1:07 (1 hour and seven minutes) and saved the rule tree.

Remember our Programmer wanted to play only one an hour but have it rotate around the clock each hour. By setting it for 67 minutes it will schedule an Artist Intro (If available for that song) in say “Position 1” and then an Artist Intro would not be available for Positions 2 or 3 that hour therefore successfully keeping it one an hour but then it goes further because the setting is at 67 minutes it will also disqualify Position 1 in the next hour and be available for Position 2. In this way we are not only limiting how many can play in an hour to one but we are also forcing it to rotate into different positions within the hour and keeping it unpredictable.

At MusicMaster we love when you call us and want to accomplish something we haven’t heard of before! We are all lifelong radio programmers and jocks so we speak your language and get excited when you come to us with a new way of looking things and challenging us to make it happen. As always if you have any questions never hesitate to contact your Music Scheduling Consultant.

Custom Rules for Specialty Clocks posted on May 21st, 2018

By Marianne Burkett

So, you have a 5’oclock Free Ride feature and you want specific rules to fit the hour.

You want no slow songs, no buzz killer songs, right?  Just music that will pick up the spirits of those stuck in the car, in rush hour traffic.

With MusicMaster, if there’s a will there’s a way.

Let’s go to the Rule Tree and set up some custom rules for your 5pm clock(s)!

Go to: Dataset/Rule Tree or just click on the Lightning Bolt Icon.  At the top right-hand side of the Rule Tree in Available Rule Types is the folder “Special Rule Tree Items”.  Inside that folder is “Rule Group”.

Pull the Rule Group over to the Unbreakable All Categories folder.  The Rule Group properties will open up once you’ve dropped it in the folder.

You only have a few clocks assigned to your 5pm hour so this will be quick.

First fill out the “Description” field and give your rule group a name, then move over to “Group Mode” and select “Test Rules as if they’re not in a group”. (When you use the recap report, you’ll be able to see what rules in the rule group are failing or having difficulty if you chose this option.)

Next, go to the “Clock Restrictions” section and list the clocks you want to adhere to your specific set of rules for the specialty show.  Be sure to separate the specific clock codes with a comma!

Click okay and your Rule Group is ready to fill up with specific rules for the show.

Drag and drop your rules over the title of the Rule Group and you should see the lightning bolt next to the rule, indent a bit.  If the lightning bolt isn’t indented, it’s not yet in the rule group.  If that’s the case, drag it over the name of the Rule Group and it should tuck in for you.

Save your Rule Tree and you are done!   How easy was that?

The beauty of this is if your specialty show ever moves to a different time, the rules will just follow the clocks to the new time.

If you have any questions, please contact MusicMaster Support.