ARTIST'S GUIDE TO STARTING AN INDEPENDENT RECORD
INVENTORY AND ORDERS
looked at some of the steps needed to set up your
own label. While the idea of having your own label
might seem romantic, the truth is that it's a
business and like all business you need to keep
track of your product, sales, promos, purchase
orders, invoices and business contacts.
best way of doing this is to have a database. Now I
realize that databases aren't sexy or hip or have
the allure of a new piece of gear for your studio,
but in the long run could have an equal, if not
greater, impact on the success of your label.
are a lot of databases to choose from. I've used a
few and the one I've found the easiest and fastest
to use is a less known one called Panorama by a
company called Provue. Turns out Provue's been
creating software for a very long time. In fact the
only other company that has been designing software
to run on Apple computers longer than Provue is
Microsoft! You read that right, Microsoft.
one of Panorama's best features is that their
databases run in RAM. That means that searching
through even the largest database only takes a
second. Sometimes when I do a search in one of my
Panorama databases it happens so fast it's a blur.
So this is a very powerful feature.
However for me the best
feature is Panorama's ease of use. I'm constantly
designing new databases for different situations,
modifying existing ones as my needs change and
transferring data between databases, text files and
other applications. With Panorama this is very
easy. For example when I'm working on a song and
want to keep track of "selects" from my takes I
quickly build a new database using the criteria for
that song. (Selects are the takes or part of a take
that you want to use and can be buried inside a
larger take, thus hard to go back and find). Or if
I'm working on a mix and want to keep track of the
different versions that I can refer to months, or
years, later Panorama is great for that.
Small fast databases are
fine but the one I use the most is quite large and
stores information about all my orders, PO's from
distributors, web orders, promos, invoices, and
anything else that I need to keep track of my
is a small screen capture of the main page for this
database. The top left contains information about
the date, the contact info about the person or
company that ordered product, their classification
(direct customer, distributor, retailer, radio,
etc.), and a permanent number that is assigned to
that transaction. Next to that is a large area for
typing notes to myself about the order.
that is an item list of the products ordered, their
unit cost and subtotals, any tax and shipping and
then the grand total. From this I can generate
receipts, invoices, packing lists, mailing labels
anything I might need to print out and send either
with an order, in the mail or most common as a PDF.
the right of the item list is a section that
displays the same product info without any pricing
information that is more formal than the item list.
Whereas the item list can vary in terms of where a
product is located this section has permanent
spaces for each product sold or given out as a
promo. This is allows me to quickly analyze
bottom half contains information about payment,
whether or not an order was mailed and when. There
is also a tickler function that reminds me to
follow up if I need to.
next screen shot (sorry about the small size) is a
form that allows me to see each order grouped
horizontally across. I use it as an over view to
quickly see a bunch of orders at a time. I also use
this to manipulate and search product and demos. I
group orders by week, month, quarter and year. I
can compare products to each other, or track
changes in orders over time. Even better I can
instantly just view the totals of any grouping
while hiding the details.
can even take my groups and display them as a
graph. Here's a graph of one of my recordings by
of these forms were custom designed by me and are
constantly changing as my needs change, I release
new product or just want to look at the data a
different way. I'm not a computer programmer and I
don't have a graphic background but working in
Panorama is easy, fast and except for real detailed
tasks, very intuitive. Oh, for all you PC users,
Panorama works on PCs too!
The bottom line is that
for me Panorama is as necessary a tool for running
a label as my recording software, my instruments,
my effect boxes, synths and microphones.
have several online
tutorials and you
can download a fully functioning demo
© 2009 Cedar Mesa