Best Practices for Managing Music Files

The Recording Academy® Producers and Engineers Wing present “Producer Panel: Take Your Workflow to the Next Level!” File Management Best Practices » on October 11 as part of MixCon 2022. The conversation featured insights from producers/educators Jeff Balding (Dan + Shay, Morgan Wallen, Bailey Zimmerman), Matt Hennessy (Beyoncé, DMX, PJ Morton), George Massenburg (Earth, Wind & Fire, Natasha Bedingfield, The Chicks; Associate Professor of Sound Recording and Director of Video Production at McGill University), Leslie Richter (Ben Folds, George Strait, Kacey Musgraves; Professor of Audio Engineering at Belmont University) and Paul “Willie Green” Womack (Wiz Khalifa, The Alchemist, The Roots; New York AES Chapter Vice President). You can see the archived video above but here are some details…

Without smart file management, it doesn’t matter how amazing your mixes are – they’ll never be released to the outside world. Attendees gained expertise on how to avoid major client emergencies and headaches. Good file management, with smart backup and consistent naming conventions, future-proofs sessions and adds up to a well-functioning studio. Time spent getting organized frees up more time for creativity.

David Weiss of Sonic Scoop introduced the panelists along with moderator Maureen Droney (Vice President, Producers & Engineers Wing). Droney shared the central concept of the panel: the “nitty gritty of music recording. mixes, metadata and other information organized in a way that makes the project professionally delivered?”

Panelists shared their daily workflow, outlining tips for maintaining file directories, using naming conventions, and successful backups of all materials. While each panelist had differences in the details of their workflow, all four were united in emphasizing the importance of clear and consistent file management and backup.

Balding noted that knowledge comes from experience, which includes making mistakes. “It’s a collection of wisdom that can help people avoid making the mistakes I made.” Massenburg agreed, “Newbies don’t understand the importance of saves until they lose a session. And then it really comes down to you.” Later, Hennessy quoted a quote from Massenburg he remembered: “I remember hearing George say, ‘If it’s in one place, it’s already lost. If it’s in two places, you rent it. But if it’s in three places, you ‘it’s covered.'”

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