Master Your Craft: Become an organized musician in six easy steps

By Andile Nkosi

In my music consultation business I come across many talented individuals who not only have more money than I do, but also have more music business experience, more music contacts as well as more industry expertise than I do. Initially I thought there was nothing I could offer to these individuals, however I have gradually picked up a common trait among all my clients and have come to a belief that it is a common flaw shared by most South African musicians in general: We are not organized.

 Be organized: Keep an updated diary

A few writers have written on this topic, one of my favorites is Saunders Streets article titled 5 ways to become an organized musician where she points out the importance of keeping a calendar among other things.  In this article I want to share the art of being organized from a document filing perspective.
#1 Get a dedicated machine for business documents: As a serious muso or indie label manager you should have a PC or laptop dedicated to your music business documents. Avoid using your music PC for business documents as these tend to be prone to viruses and are usually not available on demand due to lengthy recording and mixing sessions.
#2 Back-up: The PC machine should be in a good condition and regular back-up should be done to prevent loss of critical business data in case the machine dies or gets stolen. Back-up into an external hard drive and also use free virtual drives such as Google Drive and Hulk Share.  
 #3 Organize your folders: Start with a main folder which is the name of your Label/ Artist Name. Create 15 sub-folders inside and name them accordingly: Artist Profiles, Bookings, Contracts, Correspondence, Database, Drafts, Forms, Legal documents, Lyrics, Proposals, Quotations and Invoices, Rate Cards, Research and Tax.
Artist Profiles
Artist Bio, Discography, Media coverage, etc.
Booking calendar, confirmation letter, completed booking forms, etc.
e.g. Publishing, Recording, Management, Distribution, etc.
Meeting minutes, important letters, emails, , etc.
Spreadsheet with contacts of promoters, venues, suppliers, fans, etc.
Drafts of any letter, document, proposal, contract etc.
e.g. Visa application forms, sample clearance forms, distribution forms
Legal documents
Any signed or legally binding documents
Typed copy of all your song lyrics
Gig, sponsorship, endorsement, partnership proposals
Spreadsheets of singles length, authorship, ownership and publishing info
Quotations & Invoices
Incoming and Outgoing quotes and invoices
Rate Cards
Rates for different types of services you offer and pricing
Copy of all research and advise documents you gather online
e.g. Recorded performance returns, notification of works, etc.
Tax returns, Income statements, etc.

Organize your folders for easy access

#4 Scan and archive: In your line of business you will come across numerous documents. Its best to scan and archive these in your folders as back-up to you physical filing.  
#5 Dedicate a day for your office work: Being organized is a habit. Once you’ve established a system you will need to maintain it by scheduling one day a week where you spend at least an hour updating your documents.
#6 Have frequently used documents available on the go: Many musicians loose business by taking too long to send their details to interested booking agents. The excuse, “I’ll send it when I get at the office” is no longer working with smart phones and tablets being widely available. As such, your booking form, rate cards, quotation template and electronic press kit should be available on demand to forward to whoever requests it immediately. 


  1. Searching for the Ultimate Dating Website? Create an account to find your perfect date.

  2. Quantum Binary Signals

    Professional trading signals sent to your mobile phone daily.

    Start following our signals NOW and make up to 270% a day.