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!

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