Solutions

New Tune
Beyond Music Library turned to FileMaker Developer Angel City Data to create a FileMaker Pro solution that combines contact and invoicing records and integrates with iTunes

Beyond Music Library

Licensing music is a complex process that involves everything from tracking licensing requests to paying royalties to composers. When manual spreadsheet tracking at Beyond Music Library became cumbersome, time–consuming, and error–prone, the company turned to FileMaker Developer Angel City Data to create a FileMaker Pro solution that combines contact and invoicing records and integrates with iTunes. The accurate, easy–to–use royalty tracking system saves hours and ensures accurate composer payments.

Overview

  • License stock music for films and trailers, TV commercials and shows, games, and multimedia
  • Well–rounded, creative, and useful music library for a global client base
  • Library used by both Beyond Music and parent company Musikvergnuegen

Industry

  • Entertainment

Solutions

  • Create a customized system to automate all of the necessary calculations

Benefits

  • Combined invoicing system and contact database to streamline workflow
  • Created one of the most accurate, detailed royalty tracking systems in the industry
  • Ensured that composers are paid accurately when work is licensed
  • Saved time calculating royalties, tracking songs, and keeping up with clients
  • Maintained fair and consistent payment practices and good working relationship with composers

Running reports using our FileMaker Pro solution takes only a few minutes, and we can rely on its accuracy. This is a huge change from long hours working out the numbers manually in a spreadsheet. FileMaker Pro is a major improvement.

—Jonathan Parks, Vice President and Music Supervisor, Beyond Music Library

Beyond Music Library licenses stock music for television, film, ads, games, and other multimedia—a complex process that involves everything from tracking licensing requests to paying royalties to composers. Originally, the library cataloged the existing music database available for license from parent company, Musikvergnuegen—best known for head composer and Owner Walter Werzowa's composition often referred to as the Intel "Bong."

Jonathan Parks, vice president and music producer at Beyond, first came on board to launch the music library, incorporating Musikvergnuegen's original collection and cataloging the works of over 100 composers from around the world. From there, Beyond brought in new staff and has produced an extensive collection of original content to further round out the collection. Beyond's chief goal was to create a comprehensive library housing the broadest range of music genres to meet the growing demands of a diverse client base.

Business Challenge

With such a robust library of stock music available, the licensing requests continued to roll in from creative media professionals around the globe. This meant more licensing orders were placed for a growing number of works, created and owned by an expanding number of composers. "Composers count on Beyond to accurately track and manage the relevant releases, music licenses, and royalty payments associated with their works—tasks that were becoming increasingly complex as the library, and its success, continued to grow," says Parks.

At first, Parks managed licenses and royalty payments using a variety of tools and his own ingenuity. A basic FileMaker Pro database housed invoices; Address Book managed a cumbersome 10,000+ contacts; and a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and good old–fashioned arithmetic were used to calculate royalties.

This system worked well enough when the numbers were modest. But as Beyond grew, Parks needed to spend less time combining and crunching numbers. Employees and consultants for Beyond and Musikvergnuegen needed a single integrated solution that could meet the complex royalty tracking requirements now, while also expanding with both companies well into the future. The solution needed to be intuitive and provide easily managed access controls to allow Parks to set preferences for which users had access to which portions of the database.

Successful Solution

A tall order? Not for Angel City Data, a certified FileMaker Pro Developer. Angel City worked with Beyond to learn the special requirements unique to its business, and created a customized system to automate all of the necessary calculations. Parks explains, "FileMaker Pro is the best system available, and we knew it could be tailored to our specific needs."

FileMaker Pro is the best system available, and we knew it could be tailored to our specific needs.

— Jonathan Parks, Vice President and Music Supervisor, Beyond Music Library

The result is a comprehensive FileMaker Pro solution that combines the functions of the original invoicing system and contact database to create a detailed royalty tracking system that is easy to use and manage. The solution offers login and password–based permissions to allow different people at Beyond the appropriate database access. Through AppleScript, the solution also provides full integration with iTunes that helps staff easily search and play music in iTunes while simultaneously tracking composer information and other data contained within the FileMaker Pro database. Beyond's accounting company can also easily access payment information, run reports, and print or automatically email statements through the same FileMaker Pro database.

"We've been so happy with how the solution is working, and so busy with the business, we haven't been focused on updating it. But we're excited to update to FileMaker Pro 11 soon to take advantage of features like full–featured charting and more visual reporting," says Parks.

Customer Benefits

The new royalty tracking system saves Beyond Music Library time and resources, and helps keep track of invoices and royalty payments more effectively. The system also makes keeping up with clients and organizing client information easier with managed contacts and automated song tracking.

Running composer statement reports, which used to be done manually with Excel, now takes mere minutes versus hours, and it's accurate every time. "Running reports using our FileMaker Pro solution takes only a few minutes, and we can rely on its accuracy," says Parks. "This is a huge change from long hours working out the numbers manually in a spreadsheet. FileMaker Pro is a major improvement."

Instead of relying on manual calculations, composers are automatically paid for all of the licenses their work receives in the bi–annual payment period—a key factor in maintaining good working relationships and ongoing success in the industry. "Beyond is fortunate enough to have some of the most talented composers in the world writing for the catalog," Parks explains. "It is extremely important to us that they are paid accurately for their work, and FileMaker Pro ensures that this happens every time."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker, Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Beyond Music Library:

Jonathan Parks
Vice President and Music Producer
Beyond Music Library
323-856-5900
Jonathan@musicbeyond.com
www.beyondmusic.com

For Developer:

David A. Knight
President
Angel City Data
818-238-0172
dknight@angelcitydata.com
www.angelcitydata.com