If the files and folders on your computer has projects dumped all into one main folder with filenames like “BigBeatTechMix19v10”, with 2021 coming to an end, I implore you to give a new organizational system to your songs. This organizational system while it does require maintenance and upkeep, it helps you keep track of what projects are in what stages of production.
For your New Year’s Resolution, create a new folder for the old project files in your chosen directory. Name it ‘2021’ and put your old project files into this folder. You can choose to sort them by the system we’ll create for all of 2022’s project files later. The benefits of using a year based system is so that you don’t lose track of when a track was written. If you release a song in a certain year and want to find the project file later, you’ll know exactly where to look if you know you wrote it 6 months before the release date.
New Project Files
Okay, now create five new folders in your main project directory for 2022’s project files. Be sure to number them so that they always show up first when sorting the folder alphabetically. Name the first folder
1. Experiments. This folder is for sound design sessions, maybe you want to play with a modular synth or a new plugin. Anything that isn’t really meant to be a track in progress will go in this folder. The second folder should be named
2. Ideas. When the track is just a loop or basic idea, this folder will help keep basic ideas that aren’t fully fleshed out or you may not be committed to organized. For the third folder, name it
3. In Progress. These project files are songs that you’re working on the arrangement for, you’ve got basic mixdown work started, or it’s an idea that you want to pursue further. For the fourth folder, we’ll name it
4. 90%. These are the project files that you’ve got a decent mixdown for, its arranged and now you’re just making minor adjustments giving it that last 10% of polishing so that it can be ready to send as a demo or release. For the final folder, name it
5. Finished. These project files are songs you’ve signed with labels or released.
While this does require moving files around, it doesn’t have to be too often once a week or month just to maintain your files and folders. At the end of 2022, you’ll create new folders with the same names and “archive” the project files so that you can always come back to them later.