Thursday, 4 February 2010

How do I know my Selector Mood Codes are right? Selector Tip 1

New feature. I’ve been a Selector wrangler for over half my career; it’s partly how I make my living.

I’m going to post a regular series of tips. Most of these cover editorial approach, which I think is an area that gets left behind. Some tips will apply to other scheduling systems. If you like what you see, or if you know someone who might, pass them on. If you really like what you see, get in touch by replying directly to this post (bottom of the post, below) or through the website link in the Work-Related pane at left.

Tip 1 is about finding your Centre Of Gravity - the midpoint of your Mood or Energy values.

The overall balance of station sound depends hugely on how you classify songs. Typically stations code their songs for Mood or Energy (occasionally both), on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 is catatonic, 5 is extremely in your face.

This is, naturally, a very subjective area. So it really helps to get a very clear idea of what the mid-ground Mood value is for your station. That’s what I mean by Centre of Gravity.

Here’s a recipe:
- Open up a list of all your active songs.
- If you have coded songs for Mood or Energy, sort them by this field.
- Now look in the middle area to find, say, three songs that are absolutely bang in the middle of the Mood range for your station. That's your benchmark.
- Work out from there. Work back up the list, and measure every song against your new standard.
- Then go down the list the other way. I guarantee you’ll find some surprises.
- If you have a big library, break it down into Categories first. This can be heavy going.
- If you haven’t set values at all - shame on you - the process is still the same. Find three benchmark songs, and work out from there.

- By the way, this is hard work. Fatigue can set in. You probably won't get it done in one session. Take your time to get it right.

After you've done that initial re-evaluation, do some analysis work to see if you’ve set the Mood or Energy rules up right for what you’ve actually got. That’s a tip for another day.

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