nkoda starts now

My appointment as Director of Music for the nkoda digital sheet music streaming service was announced today (click here to view the press release) and this marks a really amazing new opportunity for me to participate in this new age of music publishing.

There are many reasons why I believe that the nkoda model will succeed, but it is clear that when we achieve our goals, it will be a win for both publishers and consumers.

Publishers will be able to work with a platform built for them, which can host all of their content efficiently and securely and generate income whenever it is used.

For consumers of music, the barriers of geography, availability and price are gone, and the dream of universal access will finally be a reality.

Exciting times indeed!

Here at hlmsw.com, I will chronicling this journey.  Over the next few months I will aim to keep you informed about our progress as well as sharing tips to get the most out of your nkoda participation.  So if you have not already, bookmark this space.

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Changes are coming!

Sorry for the lack of posts in recent times…a broken website combined with a severe lack of time has made it difficult to post anything substantial.

But stay tuned!   There will be an exciting announcement later this week that will be of interest to all Zinfonia and HLMSW publishers, and will also mean changes to this blog as well.

More soon….


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Making UICs FLY!

The changeover to the UIC has many advantages for HLMSW users and their customers but there is a compromise in speed.

The old HLMSW system for managing stock was very efficient because the entire stock record was saved in a single slot in the database.  So to display a transaction with the old system, would take a minimum of 6 information requests to the database to extract the information to display.  That same task with a UIC could take more than 50 requests because each stock item is saved in its own slot.

It gets even more complicated when you consider that almost EVERY transaction in HLMSW also has its own stock lines which must be saved, and so for publishers with long HLMSW histories, the UIC databases can easily grow to millions of lines, all of which have to be trawled through to display results (it still amazes me how fast this process actually is).

But every request to display and save a UIC item does take a little longer than a non-UIC item, and this is something that we constantly seek to improve.

In the most recent release of HLMSW (, we have adopted some advanced database techniques to make a huge impact the efficiency of this operation.  Firstly we have created a routine that archives all of the older transactional information which is unlikely to change and placed it into an archival table and we have also created some special indexes which makes access of this information lightning fast.  It is important to note, that you will not see any difference with archived transaction UICs, they will be displayed as normal (albeit a few milliseconds slower than the live data) and if you edit them, they will return to the live list automatically.  The only way you can tell items which have been archived is that they will have a little lock symbol displayed on the UIC button:

Archiving your UICs

The routine to archive and index your UICs is not performed automatically.  It should be part of your regular maintenance plan to run this routine, but please note it can only be done when there are no other users in HLMSW, and depending on the size of your UIC tables, it can take a long time to complete (especially the first time it is run).

To access this feature, click on the UIC button in the Maintenance tab of the Configuration Editor:

then select the Archive/Index UIC Transactions button

and you will be presented with this screen

Click OK and you will find your HLMSW experience will be greatly improved.

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Daniels’ Legacy

Peter Grimshaw and David Daniels at the 2017 Annual MOLA Conference in San Diego

At the recent MOLA annual conference in San Diego, I had the unique honour to be seated next to David (Dave) Daniels.  This is a name that any orchestral librarian will know well because his publications are an essential reference in any music library, and have been for almost the last half century.

So famous is he, that the most popular (and in my view the best) way we “concatenate” descriptive orchestrations from this:

2 Flutes 2 Oboes 2 Clarinets 2 Bassoons 2 Horns 2 Trumpets  Percussion Strings
2 2 2 2 – 2 2 0 0 – perc – strings

is called the “Daniels” format.

Daniels has personally inspected more than 10,000 scores to make sure the information in his publications is accurate and so it is perhaps not so surprising that his presence at MOLA was to announce his retirement.    Not that his legacy will be forgotten.  The work will continue under the guidance of David Oertel and David Alexander Rahbee with a 6th edition to be be published sometime in the next few years, and the online resource at https://daniels-orchestral.com will continue to be expanded and updated.

Enjoy your retirement Dave, you certainly have earned it!


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BTMI in the USA

Peter Grimshaw will be attending the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association 35th Annual Conference hosted by San Diego Symphony in May.  During the conference, he will be presenting session to help users get the most out of Zinfonia, and he will be participating in presentations by Lorenzo Brewer, founder and creator of nkoda who will be introducing the platform to the attendees.

In the following week, Peter Grimshaw will be travelling on to New York for further meetings with HLMSW and Zinfonia users.

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A Polish First

PWM Edition recently completed the massive project to convert the instrumentation of their entire rental catalogue into the Universal Instrumentation Code format, and is the first publisher to do so.

The real power of the UIC (particularly in searching) can only be demonstrated when there is a large body of work with a UIC and so as more publishers commit to the platform, so does the possibilities for its use (about 4% of titles on Zinfonia have UICs).  The UIC is now available in 5 languages (English, French, German, Italian and Polish) and we are currently extending the ability to easily display UIC information styles familiar with librarians around the world.

Check it out: https://www.zinfonia.com/zShowWork.aspx?publisher=PWM+Edition

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BTMI and nkoda at Frankfurt

The BTMI team will be attending the Frankfurt Musikmesse again this year (April 5-8, 2017), but this time our presence will be complimented by the team from nkoda.

For the uninitiated, nkoda is bringing to market a digital sheet music streaming service which will give access to complete catalogues of major publishers, much of which has never been available from a legitimate source in digital format before. Not only that, they have some pretty amazing tech that can transform scanned PDFs into a form that will make them suitable for any resolution digital device. (If you want to read more about this, click here to see a message I sent to my emREADER mail list subscribers last year).

BTMI and nkoda are working closely together to make sure that the transition from print to digital is a smooth ride for both publisher and consumer.

Coming to Frankfurt?  Contact us to arrange to an appointment because we would love to see you and provide you with a personal brief of all of the exciting developments.


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Automated Performance Exports

Version 8 of HLMSW introduced a number of new features, with one most requested being an easier/better way to share HLMSW performance data with external systems like website performance calendars and for collection societies.  While you can create lists with browses and forms, it is no easy task to produce a list with JUST performances arranged by date.  So we created a Performance Export routine available for HLMSW Administrators using the button here:

As good as this is, I was asked a number of times how it may be possible to automate the creation of these export files, and to this end we have bundled a new utility with the imaginative name HLMSW Performance Export with the most recent version of the Configuration editor which does just that.

The design of program is very simple:

You can select various options to save details to a file or as an email which can be executed directly from the command line in batch files or as a scheduled task.  The above options are represented by the command:

“D:\HLMSW\HLMSW Config\PerfExport\HLMSWPerfExport.exe” /Einfo@btmi.com.au /CAU,NZ /LC /PL

Not that you need to know this,.  Just click on the Command Line box to get the text you need to insert into your batch file or scheduled task.

Selecting performances in the past would be the normal practice for the collection societies, and future performances are what promotion departments and calendar feeds need.  One important feature of this list is that whenever it is generated, the performances are checked to make sure that any changes to the performance details are included in the exports.

It is even possible to change what information is exported, but that will probably require a little assistance from us.

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UIC Errata Handling

The UIC is growing little by little every day, and one of the most complicated parts of the database maintenance regime is to fulfil the underlying concept that every instrument should only have one UIC.

To give you a glimpse of the complexity of the process, we recently were asked to include an instrument called String Drum which can be either a percussion instrument (with the alternate name Lion’s Roar) or a type of Zither (use to describe a type of psaltery) and so more information was required.  To avoid this confusion, in the UIC we named the instrument Lion’s Roar, and provided String Drum as an alternate name. Interestingly if you look at some other common names for the same instrument: Löwengebrull, tambour à cordes and rugghio di leone, they also switch between the reference of a Lion and a Drum and so the confusion is not just a English problem.

There is also my often quoted example of the Tenor Horn, which is also known in some parts as an Alto Horn, or perhaps an E♭ Horn – you can choose whatever name you like, they are all correct but confusing all the same (in the UIC we decided to include BOTH an Alto Horn and a Tenor Horn, because there was some evidence that it could describe a different instrument in some cases).

The challenge to maintain the integrity of the UIC list means that from time to time we will need to make changes to a UIC (to remove a duplicate entry or change an existing one) and so we recently added a new Errata table to the service to control this process.

For HLMSW users, when a change to the UIC is required, the B2B interface will automatically and transparently keep your data in synch with the Global UIC lists.

UIC Management by Committee

There are also plans to hand over the management of the UIC to a select group of musicologists and librarians to ensure that the resource continues to expand to meet the requirements of all who use it.  Interested to participate?  Please let us know.

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Work Tags

A new feature of HLMSW coming in the next release tackles the problem surrounding the extended use of HLMSW to manage much more than just hire/rental material.

With HLMSW version or later you now have the ability to quickly tag and search your works according to 4 special categories:

  1.  Hire/Rent
  2.  Sale
  3.  Print on Demand (POD)
  4.  Digital

Every title in HLMSW can now have any or all of these flags set according to the content.

It is also possible to easily show or hide the different types in any Work Browse using the buttons provided.  You can change your browses so that only particular types are displayed first (using the new WTYPE field), but you can always override this while you are searching.

If you do override this in the search and no records are found, you will have the option to search for ALL records using the Ignore button:

The tag values can only be edited by administrators and users with the permission Edit Defaults from the same company that owns the title.

When the updated is installed, all records will be initially marked Hire/Rent.

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