Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm Often Asked . . .

by Aaron Taylor

After working with clients for a number of years here at A-Ware Software as a Music Scheduling Consultant, I’ve been able to identify a handful of questions it seems I am asked on a regular basis.  Some of these you may already know the answer to.  Hopefully, there at least a couple here that you’ve always “meant to ask” or perhaps maybe “thought I was supposed to know that already”.
So here (in no particular order) are the top five questions I am asked about MusicMaster.

Can I run MMWIN on my Mac? YES!

In recent years, the availability of a Pentium chipset has made running MusicMaster for Windows on a Mac a reality.  While you are not able to run the application natively on your Mac (on the operating system) there are several options.

First, you might want to explore running MusicMaster in “virtualization” mode.

Virtualization is the hosting of individual applications in an environment separated from the underlying OS.  The two major virtualization programs that we are aware of are:

Parallels and VM Fusion

When you purchase and install these programs, you are able to create a virtual environment to run your Windows programs under.  There may be some keyboard and mouse tricks you need to learn to allow you to maximize your use of the program by this method, but we have many users doing this now as their sole method of utilizing MusicMaster.

The other route you may opt for is to create a partition on your Mac to run a Windows environment, in addition to a Mac OS.  Apple has software called BootCamp:

This allows you to select from your Windows or Mac OS when you boot up your Mac.  In that way, MusicMaster will operate the same way it always has on your Windows XP, Vista, or 7 machine.  A caveat to this is that you also need to have in your possession a full installation version of the Windows operating system you intend to run on the partition, as this will need to be installed by the user as part of the set up.

Can I play audio from my automation system (or my iTunes) from MusicMaster?  YES!

This involves setting up or pointing to a field in your MusicMaster database that matches the filenames for the audio on your automation system or other play out software.  Then, you’ll go to TOOLS-OPTIONS-AUDIO FILE OPTIONS and configure the set up.

There is also a helpful utility found under Library-Audio-Verify in Library Maintenance that will allow you to check to make sure the pathing you’ve set up is correct and that the audio files can be found for each entry in the library you might wish to play.

In general, the F12 key plays the audio in MusicMaster (CTRL-F12 to stop it).

We’ve created a Webinar to walk users through this process a while back that goes into more depth on this topic.  You can view it any time via the MusicMaster website ( here is the direct link:

Also, your MusicMaster Scheduling Consultant is happy to assist you in the configuration process of this functionality as well.

I want to access the MusicMaster support site, and need to get a username/password or have forgotten my username/password, can you help me? YES!

The MusicMaster website is  When you access the site, you should see Support listed on the left side of the screen.  There are two areas in support, Tech Support and Customer Login.  Tech Support has a link to access the Client Support Center, as well as the link for our internet-based training.  Customer Login is where you will find downloads of the latest versions of the software, training videos, past Newsletters and more.  When you open this screen, you will see the Login in window.

If you have not already done so, you must create your Account.  There is an option at the bottom of the screen to Create Account.  The information requested in the Create New Account window is basic. You will be asked to pick your own user name and password. Both of these fields are case sensitive.  Once the registration has been approved, you will received an e-mail from indicating your registration has been approved and that your user name and password have been activated.

We are unable to look up your username/password combinations for you once you have set them, but you are able to reset your password from this screen (if you remember the username you signed up for at least).  A reset message/instructions are then sent to your email address.  If you still have trouble, or do not get a reply from the automated system, contact your MSC or for further assistance.

Can I print a report or music log and send it to my consultant or off site voice tracker?  YES!

The simplest way to do this is to add a PDF generator to your machine as a printer option.  There are a variety of options out there (you may already have one installed on your machine)…One we like to suggest to users who do not already have one is PDF 995:

This creates a file that can be opened by the user on the other end with a free PDF reader utility.

Once you’ve installed this (and verified the user on the other end has a reader app installed), your PDF generator option will show as a printer choice when you are ready to PRINT your report or music log.

If selected, you’ll have the option of where to save the .PDF on your desktop, folder etc.  Once it is created, simply open your email, locate the file on your computer and attach the it to your email!

I need to make a copy of my database for testing purposes, and/or I would like to create a new MusicMaster database from “scratch”.  Can I do this?  YES!

Just go to the Datafile Manager, FILE-OPEN DATASET.

If you choose NEW, you will have the option to “Create a New Keep It Simple Database”.  This gives you an empty, basic MusicMaster database ready to populate with you new song library, clocks, and rules.

If you choose CLONE, you will create an exact duplicate of the database that is currently highlighted in the Datafile Manager list.  You should then rename the cloned database to something else to differentiate the two.

Hopefully after reading today’s article, I’ve been able to “knock off” at least a few things about MusicMaster you’ve always been curious about.  As always, we are here to help with any question you have about the program, no matter how basic you think that question might be!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Overview of Packeting in MusicMaster

By Aaron Taylor

Packeting can be used to group songs together, which will have the effect of slowing down the rotation of the individual songs.  A great example of the use of packeting might be to group the studio, acoustic, or live versions of a particular song together in a packet so they are not rotating independently.   I also like to suggest to clients that they may want to consider packeting the “one hit wonders” or very tertiary songs in a category together in packets, so that you can potentially avoid music sets clustered with a seemingly stack of these marginal songs.   It is also a common desire to packet non music elements together, like jingles, liners, or sweepers.

The packeting utility in MMWin will also allow you (if desired) to “weight” a packet, so that particular cuts in the packet will play X number of times before moving onto the next song in the packet order.

You can group any number of songs (as part of the same category) into as many packets as you wish.

To access the Packet editor in MusicMaster Windows, there are several routes.  You may either right-click on a song and go to Packet; select Dataset, Library, Packets which will open the Packet Editor window; or if you add the Packet field to your Library Maintenance display, you can click that field for the song you wish to create or add to a packet.

Below is a view of the Packet Editor window.


On the left hand side you see a list of all the packets in the program, showing their name and category they are in. The drop-down box in the upper-left lets you choose which category you look at. This information is repeated in the Description and Category boxes in the center of the screen. By clicking on any packet name, the main center box will show you the songs in that packet.   Other options/information available here include:

Description – The name given to the packet. You may change it by clicking into this box.

Category – Indicates what category the packet is contained in.  If desired, you can use the drop-down box to move the packet to a different category.

Keep Packet Together – With this box checked, if you move a song that is within a packet, all songs in the packet will be moved. If this is not checked off and a song is moved, that song will be removed from the packet and sent to the category specified. The remaining songs will still be in the packet.  It is important to remember if you decide to set this for the future, as we’ll get calls from time to time from clients wondering why seemingly “groups” of songs moved, when only one was targeted for a move.  You forgot the song was packeted, and the “keep packet together” setting was selected!

Packet Type – There are three types of packets: standard, diggable and weighted.  Here is an explanation of each type:

  • A standard packet keeps track of the next song that should be considered. When the packet comes up, that song is tested. No other songs in the packet will be tested.  
  • When a diggable packet comes up for consideration, songs in the packet will be tested up to the search depth that has been set to see if the song passes the tests on the category. 
  • A weighted packet allows you to determine how many times a song in a packet plays before moving to the next song in the packet. As an example, if you have a two-song packet and you want one of the songs to play twice as much as the other, you would want to place a two in the Weight column that will be displayed when you choose this option. 


Select Create and confirm. Name the packet in the Description field, the select ADD. This will open the standard Database Query box where you will be able to pick categories, filter and sort the list to narrow down the songs you view. When the list comes up, you can choose as many songs as you’d like. To select more than one at a time, hold down the Control key. When you have selected all the songs, click on Add. This will bring the titles into the packet creation window. When you click Close, the packeting process will complete.

Other options at the top of the screen include Delete, AutoPacket and Unpacket.  While Delete and Unpacket are fairly self explanatory, the AutoPacket feature deserves a bit of explanation.  This utility allows for you to select criteria that will be utilized to create a packet. You will pick the categories you want to include, the minimum number of songs there must be for the creation of a packet, the maximum number of songs in a packet, and the packet name. The standard Song Filter box is used to create the filter.


As mentioned above, you can add the Packet field to you Library Maintenance view.  This will allow you to see the name of the packet and any day part restrictions. If you move the cursor over the Packet field with your mouse, it will tell you the number of songs in the packet and the number of restricted hours for day parts.

To see a combined history graph showing all plays of the songs in a packet, use the drop-down arrow and select Packet. If you have the packet field showing, you can click [SHIFT F6] in the field do to this as well.

Packeting  will slow down the rotation of individual songs in a category.  This is reflected in Analysis-Turnover.

When using a standard packet and sorting a song list by rest, the packet history will be used to calculate the rest time for each song. The rest time will be the same for all songs in the packet.

In the Schedule Editor, this means the way the list is displayed in the replacement window may show some individual song rest times that are higher than the songs around it. Make sure to pay special attention to whether packets are in use for the category you are viewing.  You should be able to spot the song from the packet that is being used to calculate the rest.

If you have any questions about how to best utilize this functionality in MusicMaster for your particular situation, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with your Music Scheduling Consultant!