What are the customers of DMP Guru paying for?
The short answers
- data validation, safety and security
- simplicity and convinience
Django Music Publisher is free software. Yet, DMP Guru is a commercial service. Legal issues about it being a PaaS aside, the legitimate question is what are the customers of DMP Guru paying for? And how to present it in a clear and simple way?
Also, there are other solutions, both online and on-site, competing for original music publishers. And it is reasonable to expect there would be more. In order to attract and keep them, DMP Guru must have competitive advantages. And they must also be clearly communicated.
Furthermore, it must be clear what are the benefits of using any software solution compared to manual registrations through web interfaces societies provide. But the biggest question is why does one need a database at all?
Advantages of a database
When anyone starts with any activity, the amount of data is small and one knows just about everything about it. But, as time goes by, and particularly if the amount of data grows, one has to keep some kind of record. It may be as simple as a paper notebook or some kind of digital equivalent. But in the 21st century, pretty soon it means Excel or some of the alternatives.
So, it really comes down to the question of advantages of a database over a spreadsheet. And vice versa. Spreadsheets have one advantage over any database, the data structure can easily be changed. One just adds a column or a new sheet. However, this is also the cause of the largest disadvantage. Things can quickly get messy.
A database has a clearly defined structure and a set of integrity rules about the data. Usually, it can only be accessed through an application that adds further validation and security rules. Also, data is usually kept in a normalized state, meaning that a single piece of information is kept only once. If one thing changes, let’s say that a writer has changed society affiliation, then one has to change this only in one place and all the data is up-to-date. In a spreadsheet, one has to find all the places where this writer is mentioned and change this value. It’s not a straightforward search-and-replace. The chance that one misses a spot or makes an error is not insignificant.
It boils down to data integrity and saving time.
Advantages of single-format batch registrations
In a global market, any publisher, who does not use world-wide administration services and pays a significant percentage of income for it, needs to deliver the same data to several addresses, at least their local society and sub-publishers, while in the US, with several PROs and separate mechanical rights, things are even more complicated.
If one is doing things manually, then it means manually entering the same data in several forms. If one is doing it with batch registrations, but in different file formats, it is the same thing, only locally. Only with a single-format batch registration, one file covers everything. And when it comes to publishing data, the single format can only be CWR.
Saving even more time.
Advantages of Django Music Publisher (DMP)
While it is impossible to generalize in an evolving market, DMP has several unique features. It is open source and not just a library, but a complete solution within a clearly defined scope. For publishers who are within this scope, it is a candidate, but not the only one.
From my perspective, there are some obvious advantages of being an open source project with top-notch quality assurance processes, but it is something potential customers can’t recognize. Nor the fact that someday, when they outgrow the current features, they may choose to extend them themselves. Nor the fact that open source projects can’t really vanish overnight. Nor the fact that the code actually works, unlike many “solutions” on the market.
The fact remains that there are several good ones out there. (I did help some to get good.) So, what are the obvious advantages of DMP? That it has superb data validation? Yes. That it works with societies on all continents (except Antartica, naturally)? Yes. User experience? Definitely. DMP has a modern, responsive, fast interface. Though there is a learning curve, it is a huge time-saver once a user gets used to it.
Advantages of DMP Guru
Django Music Publisher has two main disadvantages for a typical small music publisher: it is not simple to deploy and it may be a challenge to get the settings right. DMP Guru solves both of them. But that does not really justify the monthly subscription fee. Well, not after the first quarter anyway.
The hosting, acquiring, installation and renewal of SSL certificates, periodic upgrades, security updates and regular backups are also included. And, what no other service currently allows, one can just download the database backup and move to a different hosting arrangement at any moment. Export the CWR or a JSON file and move to a different service altogether. It is the only service with absolutely no lock-in.