Strengths and Weaknesses of
That Green Thing

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Publisher editing in That Green Thing

Every software, just like everything else, has its strengths and weaknesses. Here is how I see That Green Thing.

Strengths

It works

Stating that “it works” is a strength may seem unusual to those who never encountered other solutions for music publishers that claim to do Common Works Registration. Most of then don’t work. Not in my book. They work sometimes for some users in some cases.

Most “solutions” out there were originally made for one company doing their very own thing in their own home yard. At best, they work for that one company doing their very own thing in their own home yard. That does not fit my definition of “it works”.

Another extreme can be described as “big, trying to do everything for everyone”. Nothing, of course, works for everyone. But it can work for most. Cool, right? Except that by trying to do everything for everyone, it gets complicated for everyone. And, subsequently, expensive for everyone, and slow for most. Does it work if only a couple of hundred top music publishers world-wide can afford it? Well, it is a stretch, but lets say Yes. Even when it is too slow for many of them? Well, maybe…

There are other solutions that work well. But, they are hard to find.

It is Green (do more in less time)

I am not talking about the colour of the user interface, though it is green. I am talking about speed and usability. Software solution that can be used to complete tasks quickly, is green. There is a significant save on electricity on both client and server ends, but that is not the real point. It is about users spending less time on administrative repetitive tasks and focusing more on creative ones.

That Green Thing is optimised for users who use it several hours per week. That means registering tens of works and processing several incoming royalty statements, creating outgoing ones, maybe importing catalogues a client or three, etc. At first, it may seem a bit complicated, but after several days of use, everyone finds their optimal way to do their tasks fast.

For example, navigation. You can use breadcrumbs to take you back to the home view and start form there. You can use side-menu for navigation. Or various links in various views for quick navigation that includes filtering. Or just manual searching and filtering. Or any combination that suits you. It takes several days for you to discover what works for you. And then you get really really fast.

It is consistent

From user interface, to underlying business logic, everything is consistent. There is not much difference between entering simple metadata or complex metadata. Entering five works with one writer and only one original publisher takes the same amount of time as entering one work with five writers, several original publishers and maybe administrators. But, more importantly, if you know how to do a simple work, it is obvious how to do a complex one.

There is a free tier/version

For those who only need basic features, there is free Django Music Publisher. It is a good place to start and eventually upgrade to That Green Thing. And for those who have used DMP for some time, That Green Thing is the only option.

Simple feature-based plans

That Green Thing comes in four plans, and they are completely feature-based. More features you need, more you pay. You don’t pay based on number of users, works, recordings, etc.

Weaknesses

It does not do everything

Strength and weaknesses usually go hand-in-hand. That Green Thing does not do everything. Nor it works for every music publisher. For example, it is not possible to register different shares in different territories for one work. Many features that are complex to use, and would be used rarely, are not implemented. As explained, that would make things complicated and slow for everyone all the time. But, it is a weakness.

There is a learning curve

For people experienced in music publishing, but who have been registering manually and used Excel for royalty distribution, the learning curve can not be called steep. But for newcomers to music publishing, That Green Thing will feel overwhelming for several days, maybe even weeks. But, making it simpler for newcomers would make it slower for experienced users. Not my philosophy.

It is different

That Green Thing uses an unusual data model. This can be a problem for professionals who used different software in the past. That Green Thing is not aligned with their expectations. In most cases, they agree that That Green Thing model works better and faster, but it may take quite a bit of unlearning.

There is a free tier/version

Django Music Publisher is a strength and a weakness. Not because it is some kind of competition, but because people used to DMP expect That Green Thing to be similar in all aspects. That Green Thing is software-as-a-service, clients don’t have to do installation, updates, maintenance, etc. And it comes with user support, of course. Still, it is a source of confusion.

No plans for “small”

That Green Thing plans are based on features, not number of users or works. This may be a problem for small publishers who can not afford it, but have business models incompatible with free Django Music Publisher. I don’t believe that complex business models are good for small publishers. But some, at least, might eventually become large enough for That Green Thing. We will loose them forever.

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