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Breakable Rules posted on October 18th, 2021

The Power Of Breakable Rules

By Dave Tyler

Since we were kids “The rules are the rules” right? You don’t break rules you follow rules. If there was a rule that was breakable then it would not seem to be much of a rule at all would it? Well you’ve come to the right place to discuss this seemingly paradoxical topic of the “Breakable Rule”.

In MusicMaster, Rules are how we nudge, manipulate, control and cajole our library to sound on the air the way we hear it in our heads. Rules are the “line in the sand” telling our library what it can and cannot do. However, sometimes we would LIKE it to do something but we do not need to REQUIRE it to do something. It would just be really nice if it could pull it off. If it can’t, well that’s okay too. Here is where Breakable rules come in to play.

Let me explain by example. In my example below I have my Artist Separation set at 1:10 in my All Category Unbreakable folder. This is line in the sand stuff. During scheduling a song is available only if that artist keyword has not played for an hour and ten minutes. With that said I would love it if I can find one that has not played for a full 90 minutes and I would be over the moon if I could get one that hasn’t played for two hours!!!! We call this scaling the rules.

Here’s how it works (see illustration below): MusicMaster is always looking for the perfect song, the song that breaks no rules. When it finds one, game over, song scheduled. If there is no song that meets all the rules, then it starts with your Unbreakable rules and makes sure it has a pool of songs that meet those rules. Then it’s on to the Breakable rules. The idea here is to push the program to find the best song, so you scale the rule by putting it in more than once with increasingly difficult settings.

If the song has an artist keyword time of 90 minutes, it passes that test and looks at Tempo Segue Protection. If it passes that, then it will go to the artist keyword time of two hours. If it passes, the song would schedule and the largest keyword rest setting will be achieved. If it doesn’t it will look for other songs that might meet the rule based upon the search depth for the category. Should it not find one, the song that passed the 90 minute separation and Tempo Segue Protection would schedule, still achieving more than the absolute minimum of 70 minutes allowed.

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It is important to note that there is indeed a hierarchy to Breakable rules. You want the most important and/or lenient ones at the top and then build to more strict ones if you are scaling. If you put the most strict ones at the top then if MusicMaster can’t satisfy that it stops looking.

If you have any questions or if I made this clear as mud just let myself or any of the other Music Scheduling Consultants know and we’d be happy to chat about it.