DIY Song Catalog: The Easiest (and v affordable) Way to Keep Track of All Your Songs

By:

Sarah Spencer

Your song catalog is sacred. It's the record if your work, darlin! Here's how to build a song catalog that's nice and organized. | On SongFancy.com

Do you have a song catalog of all your songs you’ve written so far?

You don’t?? 🙀

Babes, you’ve got to create a catalog of your work!

As music makers, our work is not physical.

It’s not tangible. So are no objects or buildings or signs or books as physical reminders of our work.

That puts us in a unique position to make sure we’re keeping track of our art.

It’s up to us to ensure that our art is preserved in a medium that allows us to see everything we’ve written, keep track of it all, and share it!

A Song Catalog is a powerful tool for seeing your growth as a writer.

When you’ve got all your songs in one place, it’s a lot of fun to take a trip down memory lane. 🥰

All your worktapes are right there. All your lyric sheets are right there.

Open them up and press play, you’ll see how far you’ve come! And discover some old gems you’d forgotten about.

I highly recommend listening back to your work every month or so. It’s super encouraging and grounds you in your craft.

Song catalogs help you:

  • You see your growth.
  • You see your best songs.
  • You’re reminded of older songs that you forgot you love.
  • You notice who you write the most with. The least with.
  • What genres or moods you write in.
  • What time of year is your most prolific.
  • You see your body of work getting bigger and bigger!

There’s another part of catalogging that’s super important:

Back up your songs, bestie!

Save your lyrics and worktapes in multiple places, and have at least one of those places be a cloud. ☁️

You never know what disaster can strike and suddenly, a chunk of your life’s work is gone. Or your whole catalog. 🤦🏻‍♀️

I use both Dropbox and Google Drive, as well as my local computer, and a couple external hardrives. 

Find a system that works for you. But do it, fam. :) It’s worth it!

Remember, because of the nature of our work, it’s up to us to make sure it’s preserved. 🖼

Here is an easy, low-cost way to catalog your songs and back them up.

This is exactly how I’ve done it for many years. While I have a few other methods these days, this remains a super accessible way for writers to keep costs down and stay organized.

Here are some free and affordable apps you can use to set up your song catalog system:

CATALOG

Google Drive (free)

Create a master Google Sheet for your song catalog. One row per song.

  • Each entry includes a link to a Google Doc with the lyrics. [Blank GDoc Lyric Sheet Template here!]
  • Each entry includes a link to the worktape in Dropbox.
  • Each entry includes a link to the demo in Dropbox, if we have one.
  • Each entry includes all co-writers names

Psst—just wanted to let you know that Song Club has both Google Drive and Notion song catalog templates! Snag them with your membership.

BACKUPS

Every song you write back it up! Store your recordings and lyrics in at least 2 places:

  • Dropbox (Plus Plan, 2T) for worktapes, demos, and sessions.
  • Google Drive for worktapes, demos, and lyrics.
  • Notion for lyrics, worktapes, and demos.
  • Copy on your local computer.
  • External hard drives.

Here’s the workflow:

You’ve just written a song. Awesome! Next 👇

  1. Get the lyric sheet finalized/formatted and inside Google Docs. 
  2. Record your worktape on your phone or quickly in your DAW. (remember, worktapes don’t need to be full-on-productions! 1 instrument and your voice will do)
  3. Upload your worktape immediately to Dropbox. (their mobile app makes this super easy with iphone’s voice notes)
  4. Create a mew row in your Catalog Spreadsheet for the new song and link to the lyric doc, the worktape, and add in any other meta data like title, writers, and tags. 

This Dropbox link is actually my referral link. You get 500MB of space if you sign up through it. 🥰

And this Notion link is my affiliate link. Notion is great and you can keep your worktapes and lyrics all together in it and do about 9 million other amazing things.

Want a template for this? Song Club’s got you!

Inside Song Club, we’ve got all sorts of templates to help you stay organized as a songwriter. Including 2 Song Catalog templates! They’re super smart and use a lot of formulas that make cataloging even easier.

Templates are in both Song Club plans. Join today and get instant access to my song catalog templates.

Join Song Club and never miss another day to write.

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Sarah Spencer

Sarah Spencer is an award winning singer/songwriter based in Nashville, TN.

Born in the Sunshine State, Sarah Spencer writes vibrant, shining americana/pop music. She works in Nashville TN as a singer/songwriter, as well as a UX designer for a marketing firm.

Follow Sarah on Spotify to get her latest releases.

You can jump on her email list at SarahSpencer.com or purchase her debut EP, "Freshman Year" on iTunes.