Manage for Success: Archives, Newsletter #112, October 2010

"Manage for Success" is a free monthly newsletter for record label executives who want to operate their companies efficiently and successfully. It's published by Keith Holzman of Solutions Unlimited, a management consultant, troubleshooter, and trusted advisor, and is based on his many years as a senior executive in the music industry.

Copyright 2010 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.



Last month I used this space to discuss one of the most important assets a record label has -- its master tapes -- and how to preserve them. <>

This month I'm writing about another important asset a label should have, but that all too often gets neglected. And that is an archive collection of all its intellectual property. This is a special storage space that should contain at least ten to twenty copies of each release in every configuration made or manufactured by you, including any DJ, and pre-release versions. In addition, there should also be fifteen or more copies of the CD booklets and inlays (tray cards,) or any other printed matter for every release made.

If you manufacture LPs, they also should be archived, plus additional copies of the jackets and any inserts. The same applies to any other configuration you might manufacture.

If you make videos, be sure ten or so copies are stored in the archive.

In addition the archive should contain copies of all printed materials such as posters, brochures, mailing pieces, artist photos, pre-release selling materials, and promotional tools, plus all merchandise items and "tchotchkes" whether they were intended as giveaways or for sale.

The archive should be maintained in a locked, highly secure space in your office, with access provided to only one or two of your most-trusted staff. I recommend that it be climate-controlled for temperature and humidity, and if it is, it can be the temporary storage location for master tapes and/or hard drives prior to them being sent to an appropriate off-site location for long-term safe-keeping.

Be sure that the archive is well organized so you can easily find what you might need. And if an item needs to be removed temporarily, be sure it gets logged and then returned or replaced. But don't let anything archived leave the premises except when absolutely necessary.

You'll be amazed how often you're likely to access the archive to check something. And its great value is particularly notable many years after release of a now-discontinued item, especially if you're licensing a track for use in a film, TV show or commercial.


If you'd like guidance in setting up your archive, or protecting and preserving your valuable masters, or need help dealing with other management or administrative problems, email me <> so we can discuss how I might be able to come up with a solution tailored to your specific needs.

I also recommend my "Complete Guide To Starting A Record Company" which can be ordered as a downloadable eBook in PDF form or as a printed, spiral-bound volume. You can read the complete Table of Contents and download the Introduction at <>


By the way, since last month's message, but relative to this one as well, I've come across a newly published Library of Congress publication titled "The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States -- A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age." At 148 pages it's a lengthy read, but it's full of valuable information.

For example, under the heading "Saving Our Recorded Heritage" is the following paragraph:

"The audience for this study is diverse. Some sections will be of greatest interest to sound engineers; other sections will be relevant primarily to academics. Still others may be of value to stakeholders with interests in copyright and intellectual property law. This diversity should not, however, distract from the fundamental story presented here, which is of critical importance to policy makers, specialists, historians, and professionals of every stripe—indeed, to anyone who has ever been stirred by a sound recording."

The publication makes imperative the great importance and value of archiving masters and their derivatives. It can be downloaded as a PDF at <>

Until next month,

Keith Holzman -- Solutions Unlimited

Helping Record Labels Manage for Success.

Copyright 2010 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.


I encourage you to pass this newsletter along to friends or colleagues so they can join the list. Anyone interested can subscribe by sending a blank message: <>

Please note that I will not disclose, lend, rent, or sell your email address. Or if you no longer wish to subscribe, please send a blank message <>

Most important, should you have a topic you'd like me to address in the future, please let me know: <>.