Monday, July 20, 2009

The Music Goes Round And Round...

...and it comes out here. MusicMaster Oldies is a constantly changing blend of songs and musical styles. The daily playlists are generated by MusicMaster, the music scheduling system for Windows. In this system, songs can be divided into groups called Categories. Each of these Categories can rotate, or repeat the songs, at a different rate. In MusicMaster Oldies, there are five music Categories named after planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Jupiter. Here is a screen shot from MusicMaster that shows the predicted rotation speed and pattern for the Mercury Category.

The songs in the Mercury category repeat faster and are heard more often than the others. This Category contains the biggest hits from 1955 to 1970 and you'll hear about six of them every hour. Mercury contains 740 songs, so each song in Mercury is heard about once every five days and five hours.

The Venus Category contains about 2884 songs. You'll hear a song from this Category about nine times every hour, which means these songs repeat every 13 and a half days or so. This Category contains hits, well-known album cuts and b-sides, and a bunch of really great songs that never made it onto the charts at all (but should have).

The Earth Category holds around 3675 songs and seven of these play every hour. These songs will repeat once every 22 days and 19 hours, give or take a bit. These are songs that didn't quite make it as high on the charts as the others, lesser known album cuts, and b-sides that sound pretty good.

The Mars Category contains 3233 songs but only two of them are used each hour. These songs repeat very slowly, taking about 70 days to repeat. These are songs that are weaker chart hits and b-sides, or songs that do not fit well into the oldies sound.

The Jupiter Category is very rarely heard. There are 388 songs in this Category, but the Category is only used in seven different hours throughout the week. These songs repeat only about once a year! These are really bad recordings (which I'm always looking to upgrade), or terrible songs that somehow managed to make it onto the sales charts.

My use of the words "really great" and "terrible" may lead you to believe that the placement of these songs into Categories is a somewhat subjective decision on my part. That's actually true! However, I do move songs from one Category to another in response to suggestions from you, the listener. If you tell me you really like a particular song or artist, I'll review those songs and I may kick them from a slower repeating Category to a faster one. This happens all the time, so be sure to give me a regular Shout Out and let me know your favorite songs!

In addition to these five Categories, I also use two special categories for really long songs. The music of the 1950's and 1960's were mainly short songs, running about two and a half minutes in length, on average. Songs that are over 5:10 long take up the space of a couple of normal songs, so these are placed in a Long Songs Category that is called for once in each of 16 different hours throughout the week. Songs that are really long, over 10:00, are used just once in the 5:00pm hour (Central Time USA) every day. These come from a Category called Epic Songs. Long songs repeat about once every three months, while Epic songs repeat once every few weeks. Some of these repeat a bit faster than others because they're bigger hits. I use a feature called Rotation Weight in MusicMaster to control the rotation speed of individual songs in these Categories.

In addition to all this, there are special "Rest Categories" that hold songs that are waiting to play from either the Venus or Earth Categories. Every day, a bunch of songs that have been playing in these two Categories for a long time are pulled out and rested. An equal number of songs that have rested the longest are moved into Venus and Earth to take their place. This keeps MusicMaster Oldies sounding fresh all the time. It's all done automatically by MusicMaster using a feature called Auto-Platooning.

Coming up: How MusicMaster mixes up the songs to create the maximum variety possible!

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed that you have your categories named after the four "inside" planets. Never thought of NASA as a trend setter in music rotations, but you have just opened my mind!