File naming conventions for electronic musicians

You are in the middle of your next masterpiece, when you suddenly remember the cool funk part you had on an earlier version of the track. That would fit very well to the current arrangement.

But wait… Exactly which version was it? Was it the “premix final version 7” version? Or the “radio master revised 22″ version? Or one of the many other arbitrarily named files on your disk? Finally you find a mix with the part on. But where is the project that matches it?

Situations like that can be avoided with a carefully planned naming system for your files. Although slightly more tedious when you are just throwing ideas around, it will pay back many times when you later have to locate some of the stuff you did.

[gdlr_quote align=”center” ]Every individual track you work on should bear a unique production number plus a serial number[/gdlr_quote]

Start by giving every single track you ever made – or are about to start up – a unique production number. This number should be attached to everything that has to do with this track from now on. The very first version of your track was perhaps temporarily codenamed “Secret Love Affair”. When you work a little more, the lyrics change, and now the song suddenly is called “Nightly Escapades”. This means you will need to operate with and remember 2 different titles for the same track. And the track can still change name many times. But with your unique production number attached, the title does not matter, since the number exactly indicates which track you’re dealing with. And before long you will even learn to know your tracks ny their number, rather than by their name.

You can expand on this system by assigning a serial number suffix, so you can always tell the development stage of a project, mix or file just by the serial number. Make sure that both your mix files and your project files bear the same number, and you will always be able to locate the correct file on a later date.

Add further info by assigning letters to the number, so you can tell whether it is an instrumental version, a mastered version, a remix etc.

Using a system like this will significantly increase your productivity over time. So start today.