Keeping Track Of Your Music

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A reader suggested this topic and I thought it was a good idea.

How do you keep track of your submissions to the various music libraries and projects? Who accepted and who rejected? What songs are placed with what companies and the alternate titles for each song? What other relevant data do you track?

I built a relational database (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relational_database) using Alpha 5 Software (http://www.alphasoftware.com/). I like going this route as it so easy to massage the data. When I need to I can export the data in whatever format someone needs, Excel, PDF, etc. I also use it to create addendums to contracts as I add music to their catalogs.

So what do you use?

Reader Bobby Cole has been kind enough to post his solution. Thanks Bobby, awesome job! Right click on the below link to download.

Excel Spreadsheet Template

26 thoughts on “Keeping Track Of Your Music

  1. Very interesting thread. Any updates since 2010? I’m about to launch into producing lots of songs and cues over the next 20 years, and I’d like to avoid reinventing the wheel. Is anyone aware of an app that does all the above? Dave Skinner

  2. Hi all,
    Is anyone using FileMakerPro for their music library and project management data? Was interested to know experiences using FileMakerPro vs. Excel. I’m currently taking a class on Project Management and Excel seems to be the standard.

  3. Alpha Five http://www.alphasoftware.com does in fact run on Windows machines but a lot of folks are running under parallels and reporting very good performance.

    It is conceptually similar to Filemaker but it is quite a bit more robust and also can build complete web (and soon mobile apps.)

    When magazines review the two products side by side Alpha Five gets higher ratings because of power and flexibility without being more complex to learn or use.

    • Hi Richard, nice to see you here. I’ve been using Alpha since the DOS days and I think we have spoke on the phone a couple of times. My only complaint is that getting the database on a web site is very expensive for someone like me (one person business). I just ran across the VPS option (Virtual Private Server) and that’s doable but that Web Application Server license is a killer!

  4. Great info! I posted this as a question but Art directed me to this post. I wonder if Bobby is still around and if he improved on the excel after a couple of years…

  5. Bobby, thanks so much for sharing this solution. Am looking forward to implementing it ASAP!

    • No worries at all! Glad you all like it.

      It is still a work in progress, got a few other amazing ideas to get even more organized including the following –

      Expenses tab for tracking your expenditure if you do this full time and you are self employed

      Under Track details tab I am planning to sort out moods for each genre so that they are automatically entered in an adjacent column (i.e. when you type in horror for the genre, a list of appropriate moods are automatically entered in another column, things like dark, scary, tense, e.t.c.)

      For the general info Tab I am going to add the appropriate Meta Data fields for some of the most common libraries that accept CSV as a form of getting your meta data in, very handy to have it all together.

      Under the overview tab, I am planning to collate the income and expenses so that you can clearly see how much you made each month, and how much you spent. Will also be adding in some clever formulaes for working out things like average monthly income and expenses, total income and expenses. Also under this tab all income is in blue, all expenses will be in red. Will also be adding in a formulae for UK tax records so you can work out how much you need to put aside to pay your taxes (easily changeable for other countries, you simply change the rate, at the moment it is 22% in the uk – I think haven’t checked this for a while now!)

      Will email ART another updated version when it is sorted

      Keep up the good work, and lets all get organised!

  6. Great stuff Bobby. I use a spreadsheet as well, but not nearly as detailed and informative as yours. Thanks for sharing.

    • Glad you like it!

      It is still a work in progress, am going to had a whole taxation tab outlining gross and net income, IR reserve, e.t.c. and another tab outlining the various formats of CSV that companies request…….

      All the best

      • Hey Bobby, thanks so much for sharing that – you’re an excel maven. I’m wondering – do you not re-title your tracks? Keeping track of the various names I’ve given my tracks is one of my biggest concerns.

        • I do re title my tracks but I am currently only one library that requires re titles. Yes this is something that I would like to get into more, and what I will do is create additional coloumns under the track details tab outlining what titles for what tracks, on what websites.

          It is a mamoth spreadsheet, and one that has taken me ages to put together!

          Kind regards

          • Hi Bobby:
            Great info here.How many tracks do you have and how many are exclusive deals only and how long have you been in this game if you dont mind me asking.
            I can see when the track counts and deals go up keeping track makes a world of sense,thanks!I keep hearing about non-exclusive deals going away as well if you care to comment on how that may affect your spreadsheet.

            • Hey, thanks for your comment.

              Have been doing this for 12 months so far….. am slowly building up my library (up to 600 tracks so far), and am really keen to do it full time within another 12 months.

              I don’t have any exclusive deals at all. Everything I do is non exclusive. I suppose you could create a tab for exclusive tracks, and another for non exclusive tracks….. that would work!

              But yes, I suppose the way that I have it all set up now works best for non exclusive.

              How long have you been doing this for? And what other sites would you recommend as the best ones?

              • Hi Bobby;
                I have been doing this for a couple years but dont have near that many tracks.
                Worked freelance for 15 years and had a very successful run from 92-08 but not doing library.Been composing for a long time though.Are you representing other writers,to get those kind of track counts that have viable production on them is nearly impossible in 12 months unless you are cutting up your tracks into stingers and cutdown versions and retitling.Then you can increase how many pieces you get from one full length track?
                I found some deals through Taxi and Film Musc Network and the rest right here at MLR.

                • Sorry, should have mentioned.

                  I have been recording and producing music for about 8 years, and have built up a large library of tracks, only started distributing them over the last 12 months. Recorded an awful lot of tracks at uni when I had three years to do nothing else but make music which was great!

                  All the best

  7. I just added the download links for Bobby Cole’s spreadsheet template. Go to the original post at the top of this page for the links.

  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Music Library Report, Music Library Report, Music Library Report, Music Library Report, Music Library Report and others. Music Library Report said: New Comment: Yes, I think Alpha only runs on PCs. Word is a hard way to go. Excel does have some quirks but I use i… http://bit.ly/bUqGfU […]

  9. Hi Bobby,

    I second that! Would be great to see the template.

  10. uberVU - social comments says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by MusicLibraryRpt: New Comment: Very interesting Thread.. Maybe there should be a way of selling templates of our systems to other … http://bit.ly/bUqGfU

  11. All very interesting comments so far!

    I will put together the spreadsheet as a template and upload it somewhere, will post the link here when I am done

  12. Great topic! Thanks for the info, I’m assuming Alpha 5 is only for PCs though? How does it compare to File Maker? I’m pretty much a noob when it comes to this type of software!

    Currently I have a massive word doc (I know I know!) with all the info that I need to keep track of all the libraries / renaming, but I REALLY want a more streamlined database. I actually prefer my word doc to an Excel spreadsheet… excel does funny things when copy and pasting etc.

    It’s probably a very niche customer base, but maybe you’d be interested in developing a database tailored to music library composers, that we could download for a small fee?

    Thanks again Art!

    • Yes, I think Alpha only runs on PCs. Word is a hard way to go. Excel does have some quirks but I use it all the time. If you want a spreadsheet a little less quirky try OpenOffice (free and open source) at http://porting.openoffice.org/mac/.

      A database is a more efficient way to go as you are not storing a lot of redundant information. It’s series of tables (think spreadsheet) all interconnected by common identifiers. From Wikipedia: “In a relational database, all data are stored and accessed via relations. Relations that store data are called “base relations”, and in implementations are called “tables”. Other relations do not store data, but are computed by applying relational operations to other relations.”

      As far as developing a database to sell, something to think about but a lot of work to implement into a viable product.

  13. Very interesting Thread..

    At the moment I just use an excel spreadsheet with the following information. It has been used for the last 2 years and has developed into a really useful tool –

    TAB ONE – DISTRIBUTION
    This tab contains coloumns for the company name (with the hyperlink so that it takes you directly to the log on page), your user name and password for each of these companies, then as I upload my music in batches I include the status of the batch name. This way I can see what files I need to upload to what websites, and nothing ever gets lost or missed! I have over 280 companies on here all set up with hyperlinks. The ones that I am currently working with start out at the top, and the ones that I am trying to get on start at the bottom. When a company accepts my music it gets moved up.

    TAB TWO – INCOME
    Here I put my monthly incomes for each site. This way I can quickly see what I make each month from each site, each sites to date total, and the overall monthly total, and the overall income total.

    TAB THREE – TRACK DETAILS
    Here I include details regarding all of my tracks and meta data (Track name, description, primary keywords, secondary keywords, primary genre, secondary genre, composer, instruments, length, file size, file name, affiliation). This way when a company needs meta data in the form of CSV I can quickly copy and paste it into a new sheet and re format it specifically for that company.

    TAB FOUR – GENRE KEYWORDS
    Primary and secondary genres with primary and secondary keywords. Very useful for copying and pasting in the keywords, and to have them all set out.

    TAB FIVE – OVERVIEW
    This is where the magic takes place. I have linked in all the formulaes from the other tabs and have a chart showing the overall income from each site (so I can quickly see which company has made me the most money), and another chart showing me the monthly income. I then have various other text information such as monthly income, average income, number of sites that I am on, average income of each site, average monthly income, average income per track

    TAB SIX – GENERAL INFO
    Anything else goes in here. I have included my FTP log in details, my other online account information (with hyperlinks to each company such as you tube, facebook group, myspace page, PRS account, e.t.c.) affiliate schemes, PRS CAE number, hosting user name and password, and anything else that you want.

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