Rockin’ is My Business, and Business is Good!
Music Software Solutions
Lee Ann Leach
You’ve written some killer tunes. You’re rehearsing and working your asses off and have honed your little music group into a tight little unit. You’re sounding hot as snot on a sow in heat. You want to take your little music project into a studio and get the ball rolling to stardom, but just how do you do it? After all, this is a business project as well as an artistic endeavor, right? That little address book is dog-eared. The address book and calendar on your computer is just not cutting it in keeping track of all the contacts and information you need to keep track of for making this project work. How on earth will you keep track of everything you need to make your dream happen? Gather round my friends, I have the answer for you and, gosh darn it, it’s not gonna cost you that much to get it all under control!
In one tight little package, all wrapped up in one CD-ROM software program, your needs will be met in less time than it takes to install the program. What is this miracle of the music industry? It is Music Software Solutions – more commonly know as MS2 – the brainchild of Richard Cliff, cofounder of Independent Music Group, Inc. Rich was reading an individual musician’s website about 18 months ago, and the one thing that hit him while reading this particular artist’s site was a mention of the need of a software program specifically designed to manage and keep track of all the business affairs and contacts an artist runs into when making that struggle to the top.
Rich took it one step further. This program is virtually something anyone in the music industry could use to keep track of everyone and everything that’s needed to keep your contacts in an orderly and easy to use fashion. This was something both Rich and Sean Colpoys (cofounder of MS2) needed for their own purposes. Both Cliff and Colpoys had their own respective rock bands (the Blue Joules and Universal Baby), plus a jointly owned recording studio that needed organizational matters handled quickly and easily. So they put their heads together with Jamie Cunningham, bassist for Rich’s band and a computer programmer, and created Music Software Solutions. Within this software program are seven fields of different areas needed to run your own management. The first field is the “Contacts” field and, honey, this one section alone is enough to make it worth the $49.95 selling price of the program. Click onto “Contacts” and up pops contact information areas for these categories: clubs and venues, bands, magazines and press, radio stations, publishers, distributors, studios, labels, management, equipment sales and rentals, booking agents, promoters, promotional and merchandise managers, producers and engineers, road crew, and lawyers. Within each section there are areas for names, address, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and anything pertinent regarding that particular area of business.
Let me go back to one particular section of the actual contact area of the software program. The one area that has quite a lot of necessary and excellent artist management places to store needed information is the area under the tab of bands. Under the heading of bands, you have places to store the band’s name, address, phone number, each member’s name, address, phone number, e-mail, phone, and fax, a place to store band merchandise inventory information (such as CDs, T-shirts, hats, etc.), a place for all of the band’s equipment (including serial numbers in case of loss or theft while traveling), a tour date and show schedule, a place to create set lists for different shows, a place for comments, and the band’s URL.
Click back to the main menu and the next section involves mailing labels and lists. You want to send promo CDs and bios out to the press? Click into the mailing labels section, click onto the drop down menu and hit “media and press” and then print. Your printer kicks into gear, and within minutes you have address labels ready to slap onto to your promo kits of all press contacts listed in your press and media contact list. Easy as that! Plus there are all the other sections (radio stations, producers, clubs and venues, etc.) listed in the mailing label section, too. Want to send kits to the radio stations? Just go through the same procedure as you did for press and media, but this time use the drop down to print your radio station contacts list. Same thing for every other area of your contact list.
The next section is the tour manager. Click into this section and all the necessary information needed to keep track of scheduling and arranging a tour for as many bands as your tour scheduling heart desires. The next step on the management software involves reports and accounting. Within this area you have complete access to all accounting involving your artists within the management program. Need to know how much a particular band paid for putting a show together, how much they made and what the net income (or loss) was for a particular show or tour? This section does it all for you with a couple of clicks on your mouse. All of these areas are linked with every other area to get any sort of report you might need to run your business.
The last four sections, give you formats for creating invoices, purchase orders, software utilities, and registration. All within one program you have everything you need to manage many, many artists and bands! It is truly a unique and highly needed software program for anyone dealing in the music industry. Managers, producers, engineers, publicists, editors, publishers, promoters, club and venue owners, radio stations, distributors, studios, labels, music stores, record stores, booking agents, merchandise managers, road crew, and yes, even the struggling unsigned bands could all make use of this incredible new program. Included with the registration of your MS2 software program are the continual upgrades and updates as time goes by in your use of this software.
MS2, alone, is a worthy addition and much-needed program for just about anyone in the music industry, but here’s the real kicker for Richard Cliff and Sean Colpoys for the near future. In the fall, MS2 will merge with Musician’s Atlas and be put into a combined CD-ROM package with Musician’s Atlas. In other words, in this combined package you will get the Musician’s Atlas, with it’s listing of anybody and everybody in the industry, PLUS the management program of MS2! For those unfamiliar with Musician’s Atlas, this sourcebook is the creation of former Musician magazine publisher, Paul Sacksman and Martin Folksman, former owner of the KITA Group Public Relations firm, which represented such industry entities as Warner Media Services, Warner Bros. Records, Sony Electronics, Rykodisc, and the Entertainment Packaging Council. Folksman was also the creator of the “Ban The Box” campaign that went before the music industry to wipe out the use of the cardboard CD “longbox” used in the first days of CD marketing. Musician’s Atlas has listings for all staff of most record labels, publishing companies, producers, press and media, and scads of other contacts that you can’t find anywhere else. I’m telling you right now, without a contact book for the music industry, I would have lost my butt a long time ago. Combined with the management program of MS2, this set of software programs will be everything you’ll need to get your career running smoothly from the get-go.
At the writing of this story, the estimated future cost of the combined programs will be approximately $119.00. Currently, MS2 can be purchased independently for the reduced price of $49.95 + $3.00 shipping and handling, down from the original price of $199.95… whoa, that’s a savings of $150.00!
Needless to say, I got my MS2 program today and I LOVE it.
For more information on MS2 you can access a demo of their program and read more from the creators at: http://www.musiciansoftware.com, or you can reach Rich Cliff or Sean Colpoys at Musician Software Solutions, 3851 62nd Avenue North, Pinellas Park, FL 33781, call (888) 550-7778 toll free, or fax (727) 521-6273.
To find out more about Musician’s Atlas, you can access their website at: http://www.musiciansatlas.com.
Want to get in on the newest creation of Cliff, Colpoys and Cunningham? Recording studio owners rejoice! In the fall, these three industry go-getters will have ready for mass consumption a new software program specifically designed for the business of running a recording studio. The new software will be called Studio Works. Studio owners, keep your eyes and ear peeled for the presentation of this program. If it’s anything like Music Software Solutions, you won’t want to run that studio without it!
Honestly, I wouldn’t be spouting off about a software program if I wasn’t completely sold on it’s many uses and how much it has impressed me when it was shown to me. This is one program you will never regret putting out your hard-earned cash for… it simply makes running your music career business so much easier, with as little stress as musically possible!