That Green Thing
Music Publishing Software
My first attempt to create comprehensive software for music publishers dates back to 2006. It was short-lived and never got anywhere. But, it taught me many valuable lessons that I used for later projects in this field. For the next ten years, I was working on projects in many different fields, but projects related to music (mostly metadata and publishing) were always the second largest source of income. Never first, never third.
Common Works Registration
For a long time, I had a blog on this very domain, covering various topics. Some of the articles were about Common Work Registration and other topics related to music publishing. Then a weird thing started to happen somewhere around 2015. People started inquiring about it more and more. It was at that point that I realized that I had 10 years of experience in a very niche, and suddenly very popular, field.
I had a full-time job at the time, but I decided that, when it ends, I will commit primarily to creating a really great software for music publishers. It was clear that I would have to take other shorter jobs to sustain this vision, but I have not deviated from it since.
Although quite experienced in some, mostly technical aspects of music publishing, there were areas I knew nothing about. Important areas. I was still accepting small jobs in this field, but only if I could learn about these areas, while creating value for my clients.
In 2017, I decided to take a big leap and focus only on music metadata. I decided to start with CWR, this was my strongest point, and something I could easily sell. But, I had another weird idea: I wanted music publishers to seek me out and tell me about issues they have and teach me how they want to solve them, and then, if they solved them, what issues they encountered. In late 2017, I started releasing free online tools that really helped me achieve this.
By mid-2018, I had insights into issues music publishers face in the US, Canada, and most of European countries, even some from South America, Asia and Africa. And I also knew a lot about their failures in solving them. And, I had pretty clear ideas what could work for most of them. The bad news was that my ideas were too revolutionary to be accepted. And nothing short of revolutionary could actually work. The good news was that everyone else was trying to do exactly that.
Django Music Publisher
How to sell a revolution? Present it as business-as-usual to unindoctrinated newcomers. Django Music Publisher was born in July 2018. The initial version took a week to code (while I was bedridden with a cold). One thing that small publishers could do with it is register using CWR. Those that did, had no clue how revolutionary the idea of using free software for CWR is. They just did it, and it worked. Most of the time for most of them.
When it did not, they would get back to me. Sometimes we would figure out how to make it work. Sometimes we figured out why it can not work. Usually, it was related to limitations CMOs imposed. Like “no original registrations” with CWR.
At the same time, I tinkered with my “big” solution, code-named Latona. But, by the end of Summer 2018., I realized it will take more time than I planned, and I could do something smaller fast. This is how That Green Thing began, though I used a different name at the time. I hoped to secure some funding for it, but by the end of 2018, I failed to do that. Once again, I needed to make money elsewhere.
However, I decided to use some of my free time to release two major upgrades for Django Music Publisher per year, and to focus on promoting myself. I wrote a lot of content on whis website, on LinkedIn, and started my YouTube channel. By the end of 2019, I had enough contracts for 2020 to, once again, focus only on music metadata. Or so I thought. Then COVID-19 kicked in.
The first part of 2020 was actually quite according to plan, despite COVID and a major earthquake we had in Zagreb. I made enough money and had enough time to re-start Latona. And make tons of video about it’s development. Even in September 2020, I was sure it will come out by the end of the year. All I needed to do was train several people in person. And then the second wave of COVID kicked in.
By the end of 2020, it became clear that I needed another plan. And then another major earthquake hit Croatia. The upcoming version of Django Music Publisher was almost ready, and I focused on updating some older videos. Then, in several of them, I spotted that green thing from 2018 I completely forgot about.
Shaken, but not disturbed
It was based on 2018 version of Django Music Publisher. 2021 version was much more advanced. And I had a lot of code from Latona and other projects. And the concept of that green thing was sound and simple. But, surprisingly, all of it seemed to fit together quite well. Too well to be a coincidence. Unconsciously, I must have steered all of those project into the same direction for well over two years.
All I needed was a name for that green thing. Then it hit me.