The UK's biggest independent record company is using FileMaker database technology to keep track of its artists and music, at what it claims is a fraction of the cost of high-end databases.
The Aim Label Database was developed by Beggars Group, an umbrella for a number of record labels including Beggars Banquet, XL Recordings and 4AD.
The database allows the labels to keep a record of who played what on which track and other details.
Beggars Group IT manager, Tim Collins, said: "We have a legal requirement to track certain details on every recording released by the Beggars Group.
"Traditionally, we have had to supply this information by filling out four copies of a form manually. This clearly created the potential for expensive errors and duplications."
Collins said the application automated this process, allowing the operation to be finished in a fraction of the time, as well as reducing the number of mistakes made.
The database has been offered to all members of the Association of Independent Music by Beggars Group to keep costs down and help them survive in a harsh market.
The database itself is a run-time application based on FileMaker. Like most other media organisations, Beggars Group has a large proportion of Macs. One of the reasons for using FileMaker was its ability to run on both Macs and PCs.
Its usefulness has led to the application being used across the whole organisation.
"It is fair to say we pretty much run our entire business around FileMaker," said Collins. "We have been able to develop company-wide systems for a fraction of the cost of using more traditional high-end databases or expensive application development environments."
Collins said using FileMaker cut the time to develop databases down to one day, instead of the weeks using other technologies such as Perl.
As well as providing a back-end database for the company's e-commerce website, FileMaker is used for a database that monitors motorcycle couriers and packages, as well as cost tracking.
Collins added that he was now looking to use FileMaker to expand Beggar's music into different territories, both online with downloadable tracks and in other countries.
"We are probably the world's most advanced online music company," he said. "We've been doing this kind of thing for the last seven years."
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