Adding Listings to the Silver Clef Catalog

This page documents what is involved with posting a listing to the Catalog on this website.

 

THE STARTING POINT:

The essential starting point for any listing is that we have to have a completed musical work. This means all the work of composing the work is completed. Anyone who writes music understands what's involved with this -- the melody line, the bass line, the chords, tweaking, refining, testing, rewriting until it's just right.

It also means the work must be properly orchestrated and scored, If it's more than just a solo work, then the part for each instrument or voice must be written properly, first in a score, then extracted to individual parts.

Finally, the music must be engraved. In today's world of powerful computers and equally powerful engraving software, this is not nearly the chore it once was. Unfortunately, some writers seem to believe that because something is easy to do, this also means they can be sloppy with it.  Silver Clef Music does not accept sloppy engraving. Please see our SCMP Engraving Stylesheet (coming soon) for our guidelines on acceptable engraving practices.

The bottom line for our starting point is the music must sound good and look good. Then we can begin the work of putting that music into our catalog and onto this website.

 

ELEMENT 1 - CREATE THE COVER GRAPHIC

One of the first elements of a catalog listing is the cover graphic. This is the image that can be printed on the cover folder of the batch of music, if it were to be sold as a physical product. This image is also the image we use as a product image for listings in our catalog.

Silver Clef Music has a default design template we use for different categories of music, and we use variations of this template to make individual cover graphics for each listing in the catalog.

Currently we are using the graphics program Xara Designer Pro to produce these graphics.

 

ELEMENT 2 - THE AUDIO OR VIDEO AUDITION

Another essential element we prefer to include in our catalog listings is an audio or video rendition of a live performance of the work being offered.

This is because we believe most music purchasers want to hear the tune before they shell out money to buy it.

Our preference is for a professionally-produced live concert performance video, of a collegiate or professional-caliber person or group performing the work in concert, because we feel potential purchasers not only want to know what it sounds like, but they want to know how playable it is by "real people," and they want to know how good it can sound when played correctly.

Other video and audio performances we will use include - in this order of preference - an audio-only of a professional or collegiate group; a video of a live performance by a community or high-school group; an audio-only of a community or high-school group, a computer rendition from Finale using Garritan instruments; a computer rendition from Sibelius; a MIDI rendition.

We prefer to use videos posted on YouTube or Vimeo to embed in our catalog listings, because after someone purchases the work, they can then go listen to that tune on YouTube or Vimeo, and use that to learn the music for their own performance.

 

ELEMENT 3 - TWEAKING THE ENGRAVING

No matter how carefully someone goes over the "finished copy" of the score and all the parts, there will always be SOMETHING that needs to be fixed before the tune can "go to press," or more accurately, be listed as ready for sale and download in our catalog.

See our SCMP Engraving Stylesheet (coming soon) for the guidelines we follow (and expect all our engravers to follow to produce saleable works.

In addition to fine-tooth refining the existing score and parts, we usually have to create two additional scores. See our About Scores page for details on the types of scores we include for band works.

The last part of creating the engraving is printing all the scores and parts to PDF files, and putting all those PDF files into a ZIP file, ready to be downloaded by eager customers.

 

ELEMENT 4 - CREATING THE WRITEUP

Now that we have all the source elements ready for the catalog, it's time to actually create the listing in our catalog.

To do this, we go to our control panel and Add a New Product. Besides including all the elements we have just discussed, we put a great deal of research and effort into creating the writeup for each tune we offer. Some tunes lend themselves to good writeups better than others, but we want to tell as much as we feel a potential customer would like to know about each piece we offer.

Frequently, we will also include a potential set of Program or Narrator notes for the tune, so as to save the purchaser the effort of researching and writing these notes when they play the tune in a concert.

We believe it is important to create a good writeup for each piece, because our customers need to be able to make the best possible choices when deciding how to spend their limited repertoire budgets.

 

ELEMENT 5 - ADDING GRAPHICS TO THE WRITEUP

The writeups for any catalog listings always have more life when there are illustrations to go along with them. Just to illustrate the point, we have purposely left images and graphics OUT of this page. Notice how it seems rather drab, how it hints at the drudgery of scholastic tomes, and how it's actually more work to read than if it had some good illustrations.

Even though there are thousands of great images available on the internet, not all of them are available for use. Frequently, the images you see on the internet are copyrighted, and we respect all copyrights, whether for music, graphics, or photos on the internet.

Therefore, we either purchase the rights to use specific images, or we do extensive research to find and use images that have been placed in the public domain, or that have been made available for reuse by their owners.

Once we find these images, which is not an easy task, most of the time they are not suitable for use in a catalog listing in their original format, so we have to use a graphics program to crop the images and resize them to make them more usable on our catalog item listings pages.

It is not uncommon for us to spend an hour or more just finding and adjusting the images we use for each catalog listing.

 

ELEMENT 6 - POSTING AND TWEAKING THE CATALOG LISTING

Now we are coming down the home stretch. We have all the elements in place - the original composition or arrangement, the well-tweaked engraving, the PDFs contained in a zip file, the item writeup, and the images, authorized and altered as needed.

Now it's time to put the final elements of the catalog listing in place. In this phase, we set the purchase price for the work, ensure the downloadable file is available but protected from unauthorized downloads, set the inventory management appropriately (allowing but one of each item per purchase), set the categories and tags for the listing, and a few other administrative details.

After all this is done, we PUBLISH the listing, and spend the next 30 to 60 minutes testing it from various browsers, to make sure people can see it and order it okay from Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, PCs, Macintosh, LINUX, Apple and Android tablets, and smartphones.

 

PUBLICATION COMPLETE!

After all this is done, it's time to say WHEW! And wait for the purchases, crossing our fingers that everything works as it should.  Then it's time to start the marketing campaign.

 

And you thought "Writing The Music" was the hard part!

Now you can begin to appreciate that the actual writing of the music is only the first step in a long chain of complex interconnected actions that must happen to bring a musical work to market.

But keep on writing anyway!

 


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