OK, setting up a new administration system sounds daunting, but it’s not as bad as you think. To start, we work together. I’ve managed this process many times, and can guide you on the big conceptual decisions like how much data to migrate and how to integrate with an accounting system. There will be data entry and a bit of a learning curve, but no guesswork.
It’s also an opportunity to review (code for simplify) your studio’s rate structure, line items, business terms and standard correspondence. This is especially important for studios with a long operating history as they typically have lots of “legacy” rates and line items that haven’t been sold in decades. Finally, it’s an opportunity to clean up your contact data. The nature of the music business with mergers and people frequently moving jobs likely means that 70% or more of your contact data is bad.
Why does any of this matter? Because there is a subtle cost to all that bloat. Each time you select from a dropdown with 50 choices instead of 5 it slows you down. Each time you select from a dropdown with 50 choices instead of 5 you have 45 more opportunities to make a mistake. Where this really becomes an issue is training new people. Not only do you have to teach the job, but how to navigate all of that hackey data.
Deployment is typically a one-to-three-day process where we analyze your studio’s existing administrative structure and express it in Studio Manager. When complete, most of the functions of day-to-day studio operations will be handled in Studio Manager. Below are some of the setup tasks;
Booking & Rates
Studio Manager is architected to “compartmentalize” data selections. This means only showing the user appropriate selections in drop-down menus. For example, if you are booking a Session for Studio A, you won’t see Studio B’s rates.
The building blocks for Scheduling and Billing are described below:
- Resources – Each studio, person or piece of equipment that requires its own calendar for booking is a Resource. Resources can be associated with a single Rate Group. Revenue for each Resource is tracked separately for reporting purposes.
- Line Items – Line Items are the individual services/products that a studio sells. Line Items have no prices associated with them. Prices are assigned at the Rate Group level.
- Rate Groups – User defined groupings of Line Items where prices are set. Examples of Rate Groups might be Studio A, Studio B, ATMOS Theater, Mix Rates.
Contacts and Clients
Because of the unique structure of record companies where one person with a single email address can work for multiple labels, we have settled on the following architecture;
- Client – Any entity or person responsible for payment. Clients have associated Contacts.
- Contact – An individual with a single email address much like an Apple ID. If you have more than one email you have more than one Apple ID or Contact in our case. Contacts can be associated with multiple Clients. In cases where an individual is paying the bill, they are both a Contact and a Client.
Terms & Conditions
Terms and conditions are entered in Studio Manager and they automatically print on every Estimate and Session Confirmation. These typically include payment terms, limits on liability and the most consequential, the cancellation policy.
Studio Manager uses the following taxonomy, allowing studios to create their own inventory. Once input, equipment can be assigned to sessions and physical location can be managed with Bar Codes and Bar Code readers. Below are the data fields with sample data:
- Manufacturer: Manley Labs
- Type: Microphone
- Model: Reference Gold
- Status: Active
- Location: Studio A