Creating CWR-Capable Software In-House

The Client’s Story

Quite often, a few times a month, I am asked to assist with creating a CWR-capable software, usually after the database structure, the backend and the user interface have already been created. Potential clients think that all they need is a quick addition that exports the data in CWR format and they would be done. This rarely turns out to be true.

The Pitfalls

In most cases, their data structure is not compatible with CWR and the data itself is not validated properly. In consequence, only some of the data, if any, can be turned into a valid CWR. Dead end. Back to the drawing board. While each case has been different, in all cases this meant additional months of work and significant budget increase.

In few cases when this was not the case, the presumption that a CWR-capable software can be a turnkey solution became the issue. One thing I have learned in over a decade of dealing with CWR is that there is only one rule in the CWR “standard”. Do whatever receiving party expects.

Even when you get that right, dealing with acknowledgement files is still a huge requirement, often overlooked.

The Reality

As a general rule, data validation, CWR creation, tracking delivery and dealing with acknowledgement files will take more time than creating the database, the backend logic and the user interface for music publishing data. And it is quite likely that every receiver will come up with additional requirements. One is never really done

The sad fact is that a potential client rarely moves past “potential”, as they have already spent their budget (and then some). Accepting the fact that it was not sufficient in the first place and that a lot of it was wasted, puts a lot of stress on the organization.

CWR-capable music publishing software is in many aspects similar to an accounting software. It cannot be simple. Not by a longshot. Making one requires thorough planning in advance by experienced experts in multiple fields. Even making an educated decision whether to go into the in-house development can be a significant expense.

Salvaging a project that ran into one of the described pitfalls may be possible, but it will most likely require significant compromises and an additional budget.

With solutions delivering CWR to 30+ different societies and sub-publishers, and accepting acknowledgements, we are definitely a good potential partner in all such situations, especially now that we have the CWR Developer Toolset.