Composer 2: Frequently Asked Questions

Jun 4, 2013

At our Introduction to Composer 2 webinar, we received a lot of great questions that we were not able to answer during the call. Because we want to make sure to address all of your questions and concerns, we compiled a list of questions with answers from me, Lou Paniccia, Composer Product Owner.

Affiliate Links

Q: I see Amazon and iTunes buy links after the song is added... What is the process if we would like to add an ArkivMusic buy link?

A:If you give us your Arkiv affiliate ID we can turn on Arkiv as a purchase option.
 

About Composer Onboarding

Q: What database format is used, MS SQL, MySQL, ?

A: We're using a NoSQL database called MongoDB.

Q: Can you feed XML with the API (instead of JSON)?

A: Right now our API only works with JSON.

Q: Will this also work w/ Android?

A: It should, but if you notice anything weird, let us know!

Q: What keywords do we use on YouTube to find your videos?

A: All YouTube videos from NPR DS will be published here: www.youtube.com/user/nprdigitalservices   

Q: Will stations have the ability to maintain Composer Pro on the live site while transitioning to Composer 2?

A: Yes. Putting Composer 2's widgets on your website is the last step of the transition.

API ( Application Programming Interface) - Allows you to push and pull content in and out of Composer

Q: Will the API from automation allow for real time shifts in playlists?  For example, the automation system adjusting to add or remove a song to get back on track for time purposes.

A: We haven't built anything specifically for integration with automation systems just yet. Composer's API can allow any system (with the proper credentials) to add songs to a playlist. Someone needs to build a script that can look at the data coming out of an automation system, format it, and push it to Composer. This is something DS is thinking about doing, but it's not on our roadmap just yet.

SoundExchange

Q: Will Composer 2 also deal with the streaming logs for SoundExchange?

A: No, the process for submitting stream logs for SoundExchange is not integrated with Composer 2.

Q: Will this also improve SoundExchange reporting?

A: I hope so! Composer 2 automatically cleans up playlist overlaps which cause SoundExchange errors.

Q: Can the new system mandate SoundExchange compliant data entry (will not accept input unless all six required fields are populated)?

A: Composer 2 will automatically prevent songs from overlapping (which causes errors in SoundExchange), but it does not currently require every song to have all of the metadata required for SoundExchange.

Music Master/Music Librarian/Importing Playlists

 Q: What are the changes for importation from Music Librarian and Music Master, and what are the changes for classical music info?

A: You'll need to configure Music Master to export playlists in a CSV file following a specific format. Here's an example: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8531857/PilotStuff/example.csv

Q: Has anyone communicated with Music Librarian folks?

A: I haven't talked with Music Librarian folks. If the station can point me to a website, I'd like to get more info about the software (the name Music Librarian was too generic for me to find anything on Google).

Q: What version of Music Master does that work with? (We have an older version)

A: I'm not sure what versions of Music Master allow for custom export formats. Music Master's customer support can probably answer that question.

Q: Do you know if Composer 2 works with Music Librarian?

A: I'm not sure what export options Music Librarian provides. If it can export a CSV file in a specific format like Music Master it should work ok with Composer 2. Let me know if it can't, I'd like to understand Music Librarian a bit better.

Classical Music

Q: I am a classical music station and would love to help pilot the classical integration.

A: Awesome! Send an email to composer [at] ds.npr.org to get started.

Q: Will there be other fields for classical listings, like conductor, etc.?

A: There aren't right now, but it's something I'd like to add.

Q: Why aren’t you using ArkivMusic for classical station search instead of iTunes?

A: I'd love to use them as a song database, but they don't currently have an API we can plug into. Composer 2's song search is built in a way that would allow us to plug into multiple sources, so if we can find a good classical database with an API, we've got the ability to integrate it.

Q: What happened to the classical station feedback you received? It doesn't seem to be reflected here at all.

A: Feedback from classical stations so far has mostly impacted the way we built the API and store playlist data. We know there's a lot of information for classical playlists that isn't needed for AAA (e.g. conductor). We've built Composer 2's database so it can handle all the metadata anyone wants to attach to a track. The extra inputs for the beta phase are limited to CSV uploads, but I'd ultimately like to build a special playlist building UI for classical programs. That way classical hosts have all the fields they need, but AAA hosts aren't confused by data that doesn't apply to them.

Q: How does this work with classical music playlists?

A: Right now classical playlists can be entered in 3 ways:

1)      Using iTunes search (and optionally editing the tracks after being added to the playlist)

Example of track edit.

2)     Manually entering songs (using our basic song input form)

3)     Uploading a CSV file: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/8531857/PilotStuff/example.csv

Songs will be displayed on your website with our playlist widget, which looks like this: 

Playlists/Adding Songs

Q: Does it automatically enter the album and label for Sound Exchange through this search?

A: If you add a song using our iTunes powered search, it comes will all the info we need for a SoundExchange playlist report (title, artist, album, label, duration, start time). Adding a song manually will prompt you for that info."

Q: So individual movements will be individually listed?

iTunes often breaks classical pieces down to individual movements, but they don't have to be entered that way. The host could edit the iTunes result to make it show any way they want. If they add the track manually, or in a CSV file, they can enter the data however they prefer."

Q: What if you only play a portion of the song?

A: You can adjust the duration of any song in the playlist by clicking the “edit" link.

Q: What about syndicated playlists from networks or newsmagazines?

A: We plan to push playlists from syndicated programs down to the local stations when the playlists are given to us (basically the same way they're handled currently in Composer Pro).

Q: Can we change the order in which the fields appear on a playlist entry? 

A: Right now, the order of the input fields is not customizable, but this is great feedback.

Q: What does the manual entry form for adding a song look like again?

A: Here's a screenshot of the manual entry form, as it exists right now: 

Q: Does Composer 2 allow you to export playlists like the old Composer?

A: We won't have an export function for the beta period, but if you need to export data, send a request to station relations and we can export it for you.

Program Guide/Adding Programs

Q: Right now we don't enter modules right before/after full-length programs, to avoid showing a program beginning at :02 instead of on the hour; does Composer 2 have a better way to handle this?

A: Not 100% clear on the question, but I'm going to take a stab at it. With Composer 2 you can have your programs start on the hour, and then add a 2min break before the playlist begins. Or you could have the program start 2 mins after the hour.

Q: How easy is it to add one-time special programming to the schedule?

A: There are a few ways to go about it, but the simplest is to just add the special program. The most recently added/edited program will show up on top. If you wanted a really clean schedule, you could take the extra step of editing the airtimes of the programs being pre-empted.

Q: Will syndicated programs, such as World Cafe actually provide the metadata for real time display of songs in Composer and on your website, instead of much later than the airdate?

A: We plan on working with syndicated music programs to try and get their playlists in advance, so they'll be available for stations when they air locally.

Q: Have any stations ever used Composer to create a program guide for both TV and Radio?

A: Composer 2 is designed specifically for radio schedules, but you could try using it to build a TV schedule.

Q: Is there a way for the information to be populated with information located in Protrack?

A: We did not build anything to integrate with Protrack.

Q: We have a program series that has a different host every week.  Will we be able to change the host info weekly without "hiding" playlist data?

A: You would need to edit the Program Details each week to update the host, but that is possible.

Q: Will Composer 2 still be able to acquire data from satellite and syndicated programs?

A: We plan to push playlists from syndicated programs down to the local stations when the playlists are given to us (basically the same way they're handled currently in Composer Pro).

Widgets/Core Publisher Integration

Q: When using CorePublisher, will there be the dropdown menu of the program, or use the widget?

A: Core Publisher will be using the same widgets non-Core Publisher stations are getting. The only difference is that we'll install widgets for CP stations, but non-CP stations need to install the widgets themselves.

Features

Q: Is there any hope for eventually having a 'Shazam'-type tool that can automatically recognize songs from audio stream & put them in playlist?

A: I'd love to build something like that, but at this point it's not on the roadmap.

Q: Will that schedule list he just showed be able to load the daily rundown listing stories--good especially for showing what aired if someone was looking for 'that story about that guy that talks to elephants on Tuesday afternoon' or whatever...

A: Great idea! We've talked about expanding our playlist building tool for use with news stories, but don't have anything on the roadmap right now.

Q: Will there be a "Notes" field for sharing info about an artist?

A: We do not currently have a notes field, but it's something we've considered.

Q: For a program that runs daily with a different host each day, can we now enter who the host is on a specific day (as opposed to one defined host for that program)?

A: Hosts are currently not specific to each day, but that's a good suggestion.