Zeus sheet music website database – latest news

 

This page is only viewable on your website by administrators, and aims to keep you up-to-date with the latest additions to the ever evolving Zeus database. A lot of the improvements listed below were made following feedback from administrators and customers alike. Please keep 'em coming!


July 2017

Price updates

148 Products from Faber Music updated
937 Products from Josef Weinberger updated
20,192 Products from MDS updated

 

April 2017

Wed 12 April  - Another ~1,100 prices from MDS updated. The main MDS spreadsheet downloaded today from their FTP site has around 170,000 titles, it will take some time to prepare and run that update.

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Price Updates:  about 1,400 prices from IMC and agencies were raised on 3rd April, thanks to a spreadsheet supplied by MDS.

February 2017

Stainer and Bell 

92 prices changed but only the high priced items.

Wiener Urtext

250 New prices

January 2017

Price updates from various publishers

OUP

1,681 prices updated, each raised less than 10%

Boosey and Hawkes/Schott (MDS): 5,963 line spreadsheet processed.

  • 2,700 prices were raised, but by less than 10%
  • A further 500 prices were raised, between 10% and 30%.

FM Distribution

  • 24,554 prices were held on Zeus
  • 6,137 prices were raised, but less than 10%
  • 665 prices were raised between 10% and 30%

Phoenix Music

  • 58% of prices were raised, but less than 10%

August 2016

Bärenreiter price changes

Several hundred Bärenreiter prices were raised at the end of August 2016 ready for September 1st.

July 2016

About 1,000 of MDS's prices have been raised in July. Mostly PWM numbers. Some Schott. Some Boosey.

January 2016

OUP prices changed. Over 700 prices raised slightly (within 30%). 

"Must" prices edited. A spreadsheet of 26,365 titles was submitted.

About 700 titles had their prices raised slightly. There were about 80 minor lowerings of price. 

December 2015

Spartan Press relocated to Unit 2B Station Road, Kingussie, Scottish Highlands PH21 1ER. 

April 2015

Emerson Edition Prices (593 of them) were gently raised during April 2015.

February 2015

New Search Feature - free upgrade!

Due to popular demand, Ian Stephenson has written an Administrator's Order Search facility.

From 'My Account' - see the new button 'Search Orders'.

Let us know how you get on. It's a 'beta' version that might well be improvable.

 

Breitkopf & Härtel

1,691 different Breitkopf & Härtel prices have been gently increased on Zeus.

 

January 2015

Broadbent & Dunn

654 Prices checked and all found to be correct bar 1!

ABRSM prices 

Ready for February, Phil Jarvis's new prices are updated. From the 1,100 titles in his spreadsheet, Zeus detected that 760 needed to be gently raised, and 230 have been left as they are.  All done.

OUP prices

Mark Caddick produced a spreadsheet of 2,500+ lines, following his visit to Strathmashie last week.

Zeus knew of 1703 of them. Of these, 570 prices where gently raised (by less than 30%). 

December 2014

Re-shelving Manoeuvres

There has been a general tidying, thinning and moving around of Spartan distributed products, solving many on-going problems...

  • Spartan itself now has two whole racks to grow into(!)
  • QT, now moved to it's own rack, has more room to grow.
  • Recital Music can expand across with ease for another few years.
  • TKM has a lot more space to grow into. 
  • Slower sellers: RCM, CL, MCM, FBM, SA and LP have been re-located.

New 'Invoice Orders' have been adjusted.

Thankyou everyone: 'twas a brilliant team effort, finished off by Jay, who put in hours of heavy duty work over the Christmas week.

New Server configured

Brand New Server configured at Bytemark for the websites, providing a much faster set of processors, tons more RAM, and better back-up facilities. 

1,645 Stainer and Bell prices were raised slightly, ready for January.  85% of the S&B titles on Zeus have been revised.

September - November 2014

Improvements to Zeus next year

As part of Spartan's 25th year celebrations and improvement initiatives, Ian Stephenson has been commissioned to work on improving and enhancing the whole Zeus platform. Work on how the Zeus sites look on mobile devices is first on the agenda. More details early next year.

August 2014

Big price update campaign:

  • Breitkopf Prices x 2,000+ were raised.
  • Brass Wind (987 records. Over 600 prices rose gently).
  • Emerson Edition (702 records. 600 products edited).
  • Music Sales (115,000 titles. c.3,100 prices raised...).
  • FM Dealers (184,000 records... in four batches. c. 1,700 prices raised gently).
  • De Haske (125,000 titles compared, in three batches. c.2,400 prices altered).
  • Winwood (7% of these prices updated).

July 2014

About 2,000 prices were raised gently by Bärenreiter on Zeus. 

MDS provided a 10,000+ line spreadsheet of price rises. 43% of these titles were known to Zeus, and  3,187 titles were raised by no more than 30%, while  1,126 titles had their prices increased by more than 30%.

Studio Music provided a series of work sheets in .xlsx format. We converted the code numbers to their equivalent ISMN numbers, and from this, identified over 100 titles that needed a price tweak on Zeus. Now ready for the July price rises.

June 2014

FM distribution price were raised in line with a file sent to us via Tema Music from Lisa Watkins
Marketing Co-ordinator for Faber Music Ltd. 430 products were effected.

May 2014

De Haske/Hal Leonard MGB prices were changed in line with Tom Venvell's utterly enormous 65,0000 line spreadsheet! Of them, about 2,000 products were currently active in the Zeus database and needed their prices tweaking.

Wiener Urtext prices were gently raised - nearly 100 Zeus publications effected.

February 2014

Musicland Prices

Zeus holds information on 100 Musicland products. We are told that distribution has now left FM (via Peters) and Musicland is currently only available direct from Musicland.

Following a new list of prices from managing director Jessi Pywell, Zeus prices have been adjusted accordingly. 14% of Musicland titles have had their prices gently raised, while a further 62% of titles have had their prices raised more than 30%.

Many titles have been reprinted and 're-upholstered' for a more consistent, modern 'look'.

ABRSM prices

February sees the annual price rise from the ABRSM. Zeus is ready - and will see 70% of the ABRSM's thousand (plus) titles edging their prices gently upwards.

January 2014

OUP prices have been raised slightly. 235 Zeus prices were raised.

December 2013

New products: ABRSM Theory papers for 2013 were added.

November 2013

ABRSM Alto Sax Recordings (grades 1 - 8) added to Zeus.

October 2013

CD categories have been upgraded

Great improvements have been made to those Zeus sites that offer a Classical CD department. New categories galore have been included, and painstakingly populated to vastly improve the (until recently) poor relation of the printed music department.

Category CDs
CLASSICAL 2,205
CHORAL 73
SONGS 78
OPERA 34
BALLET 15
OVERTURE 44
CONCERTO 258
PIANO 281
ORGAN 50
HARPSICHORD 23
SONATA 163
SYMPHONIC 320
PIANO TRIO 21
PIANO QUARTET 8
PIANO QUINTET 13
STRING QUARTET 85
STRING QUINTET 9
WIND QUINTET 6
FLUTE 32
OBOE 13
CLARINET 22
BASSOON 9
TRUMPET 13
TROMBONE 3
TUBA 1
VIOLIN 119
VIOLA 13
CELLO 45
GUITAR 53
LUTE 51
TRADITIONAL/FOLK 31
POP 2
JAZZ 2

 

August 2013

FM Distribution prices

A huge price import was made at Strathmashie, from a file sent to us by FM distribution. These showed price changes, both up gently and some down slightly, across their whole distribution range, including important agencies like Peters and Barenreiter. In all, 9,000 prices were edited, and 25,000 stayed the same on Zeus.

July 2013

Over 3,000 More Price Rises via MDS

Henle Verlag and Universal Edition prices rose this month. Over five hundred prices of Henle publications (catalogue prefix 'HN') and 2,700+ Universal prices were updated on Zeus:- 9th July 2013. 

June 2013

MDS price rises were revised, ready for July 1st. A file of 2,770 new prices was circulated to the dealership and we now successfully this for Zeus.

May 2013

New titles by the Italian publisher Edizioni Curci have been added (or otherwise updated) on Zeus, complete with fresh cover scans. These c. 50 titles are now distributed by Spartan Press, thanks to the work of our new International Sales Man of Mystery, Ian Flint.

April 2013

The internet life of those at Strathmashie House was greatly enhance by the installation of ground breaking, eco friendly, super fast broadband (at last!!!!). See separate news item.

March 2013

Work on improving the visual presentation of Zeus powered websites, as interpreted through the eyes of mobile devices like iPhones and iPads began in March and continues gently. We are using a technique called 'browser sniffing' to determine what sort of device is surfing each site, and to present content that best suits it. Lots of work to do over the next few months!  

February 2013

Edition HH, available from MDS, has now been added to Zeus in it's entirety (nearly 350 titles), complete with images and descriptions, thanks to Mark's long standing friend Per Hartmann.

Stainer & Bell prices on Zeus were revised in an upward direction on February 1st.
1,529 products were effected, representing 75% of the Stainer catalogue.

February 1st is traditionally the time when the ABRSM increase their prices and this year is no exception. From the file(s) sent to us by the Board, our price import tool reports that over 800 products on Zeus (75% of the ABRSM catalogue) have been gently raised. 

January 2013

Hundreds of Brass Wind prices were amended on January 25th, thanks to an Excel file sent to me by Vanessa at Tema Music, Bedfordshire. 

Please do send on these sorts of documents - we are developing increasingly sophisticated alignment software to keep these things up-to-date, but I need your help in providing the data from all these different suppliers!

OUP prices were adjusted at the beginning of January in line with their spread-sheet, sent out to UK dealers in November.

591 of our 820 OUP titles were given a small price increase.

December 2012

The recent server upgrade has, (for some clients), necessitated a change in settings to meet the higher security level (SSL encryption etc). If you are having trouble sending emails for example, this may help...

The outgoing (SMTP) server should be secure.highlandhost.net

The port should be 465 and the type of encryption should be SSL.

In Thunderbird,
The authentication method is 'Normal password' and the username is the full e-mail address.

If using Outlook, in More Settings: Advanced tab the 'Outgoing server port' should be set to 465 and 'Use the following type of encrypted connection:' should be ticked and/or set to 'SSL or TLS'.


Please get in touch if you any concerns!

 

August - November 2012

Spartan have purchased "Wood, Wind and Reed", Cambridge (Printed Music Department)

5 pallets of stock, particularly strong in the piano, woodwind and brass departments, have arrived at Spartan's "Fuller Music" warehouse. This is good news for Zeus administrators as many more hundreds of titles are now being 'upgraded' on the Zeus system. In a massive team effort at Strathmashie, folk are working around the clock in shifts, scanning missing cover images at the full 500px size, adding contents lists, and entering new publications onto the system from scratch.

We are about 90% through the job, and a stream of this enriched material will be enhancing your website on a daily basis.

July 2012

New search engine

Following months of research, planning, coding and testing, we are proud to announce the launch of version 1.00 of our new, much improved 'Quick Search' facility. I hope you like it!

Please direct any constructive feedback to guang@highlandhost.net. There will be further versions as we finely tune what is a much slicker animal!

ABRSM

New ABRSM Piano books (2013-2014) and the new 'Shining Brass' series have now been added to the system in readiness. All titles include cover pictures and many have the contents added.

New price updates from MDS now completed on Zeus including:

  • Amadeus (1000+ titles gently increased)
  • Henle (500+)
  • Schott (World Music series) 
  • Eulenburg

May 2012

A new law comes into force on the 25th covering cookie usage throughout EU websites. According to the new regulations, cookies used on Highlandhost websites (sheet music websites) are defined as 'strictly necessary', and therefore they are exceptions from the requirement to provide information and obtain user consent. However, we created a new link on the "My account" page after login to explain cookies and the usage on all Highlandhost websites (sheet music websites).

March 2012

Pat and Mark travelled to the Frankfurt Music Messe, which provided excellent opportunities to link up with major suppliers regarding the on-going project of updating titles in the Zeus database.

e.g. Trinity Guildhall launched their Rock and Pop exam books on the Wednesday night, and graphics and spreadsheets of all the new books arrived at Strathmashie soon afterwards to import into Zeus.  Progress was also made with FM distribution - their marketing manager has been most helpful since a good chat on the Faber stand!

 

February 2012

ABRSM Join the dots for Guitar

This new series from ABRSM by Alan Bullard and Richard Wright has been added to Zeus, including cover images.

ABRSM price rise

Price rises from Roger Gale were successfully incorporated into Zeus at the beginning of February.  In total, 896 titles were raised slightly! Nothing drastic.

January 2012

OUP price rise

About 500 prices were raised slightly by Oxford University Press. These were imported into the Zeus database at the end of December, ready for 2012.

December 2011

Hundreds of prices of music from Barenreiter and Faber (FM Distribution) as well as Schott and Boosey (MDS) were carefully tweaked at the end of December.

With the rumoured demise of the MPA catalogue, we will be making stronger efforts to deal directly with publishers regarding Zeus data updates and additions.

Over 600 new Music Sales and Faber Rock & Pop titles added (from 3rd December). Improved data import facilities have been developed recently at Strathmashie to help with more immediate Rock & Pop updates in the future.

November 2011

For administrators enjoying Zeus's EPOS connectivity, you will be glad to know that

  1. Prices can be automatically updated on Zeus as well as stock levels.
  2. There are new links on the product "details page" to quickly align a Zeus product with an EPOS product, with convenient 'return to' buttons so that you remember what you were doing!
  3. There have also been three further 'Warnings and Opportunities' added to the EPOS HQ page to help keep data 'clean'!
  • Sheetmusic prices lower on EPOS
  • Non-Sheetmusic prices lower on EPOS
  • Non-Sheetmusic prices on EPOS much higher than Zeus

 N.B. Non-Sheetmusic prices on Zeus, where the corresponding EPOS product's price is higher, but not more than 20%, are automatically updated.

October 2011

Barenreiter Prices were updated on Zeus in bulk. About 1,400 of the Barenreiter titles on Zeus (18%) were raised a little (usually by about 50p). 

September 2011

MPA data provided to us over the summer, including new works from OUP, Boosey, Alfred and many others, were successfully imported into Zeus on 10th September.

August 2011

Approx 1,000 MDS prices were modified (mostly slightly UP) thanks to another file from Ashford (Boosey and Schott Price Changes July 2011) .

July 2011

About 100 Boosey prices of music by Strauss were raised in line with a spreadsheet supplied by MDS.

Highland Host's new I.T. manager Guang Yang started work at Strathmashie on July 1st.

June 2011

New ABRSM publications: Violin exam pieces 2012-2015, Violin Star (1-3) and the new Violin/Viola/Cello/Double Bass technical requirements books are all now on Zeus, ready for launch on 7th July 2011 (Roger Gale's Embargo). I have also agreed with Roger not to put up the images of the publications for a week or so, but these are all absolutely ready to upload.

May 2011

Guang Yang currently on work experience for HighlandHost.

MPA CDRom catalogue exports for March and April - now imported into Zeus.

Ian Stevenson returns on a freelance basis to help out on various projects including a new high-specification Dell server at Strathmashie. Tom Pike (original founder of Zeus) also helps out while over from Oslo on a holiday at Strathmashie House!

Interviews and trials for the vacant I.T. manager job at Spartan in full swing.

April 2011

Sadly, Chris McKay left Spartan for personal reasons.

March 2011

Work on MPA CDRom catalogue exports for January and February - now imported into Zeus.

Chris McKay worked on

  • Important background work towards Zeus full W3 compliance validation 
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

February 2011

Prices of ABRSM Publications have been updated (TWICE - following a 'revised' version issued later by ABRSM!). Anyway... all done now.

More graphics and price rises: January 2010

Hundreds of quality cover images for Broadbent and Dunn Ltd and Phoenix Music have been successfully uploaded, making these two catalogues virtually complete! 

Peters Edition put their prices up in December 2010 and we obtained a spreadsheet from Peters direct, updating nearly 3,000 'EP' prices. Unfortunately, no barcode numbers were supplied, which inevitably took the edge off of our success rate a little. I should be able to obtain better info from FM distribution.

VAT up to 20% from January 4th, 2011

The first week of January 2011 saw a lot of careful and fastidious work refining prices on Zeus that are 'standard rated'. By early on Monday 10th January, as many as 6,000 vat exclusive prices had been very slightly adjusted (in a downward direction) to neatly re-align each product's vat inclusive price to what it was before 4th January, (but now with the new 20% VAT).

So as an example: FM52160 Hampton: Saxophone Basics (accompaniment CD)

The 'old' non-inclusive 'base price' of £5.098 used to provide a retail price, including VAT at 17.5%, of £5.99.

The 'new' base price of £4.992, after applying VAT at 20%, now provides the same retail price of £5.99.

How was this achieved?

After careful tidying of some small pricing errors (caused by inconsistent import scripts of years ago), we prepared the ground by making sure that standard rated base prices were consistent to 3 decimal places. We ran the following SQL UPDATE:

price = format((format(price * 1.175,2)) / 117.5 * 100,3)

and then ran the main UPDATE: price = (price * 1.175) / 1.2

Please bear in mind that these price changes will not have effected your site for NON-SHEET MUSIC DEPARTMENT ITEMS like instruments, Accessories, Gifts, Instruments, CDs or DVDs. You have your own, unique prices and you will have to edit your own prices manually (if you need to) or instruct us to help you! The job can be partially automated, but will involve 1 hour's work (£40 plus VAT).

January also saw the inclusion of all 653 Broadbent & Dunn titles, with their new prices, and a full update of the new OUP prices.

December 2010

Music publishers Brass Wind have kindly provided Highlandhost with a serious Microsoft Access database, which has inspired further software enhancements to our import utility to allow the merging of (otherwise missing) bar-code numbers into Zeus, as well as provide a more streamlined procedure to update prices. Most of the Brass Wind prices appear to have gone up marginally (about 3 or 4%). Zeus is now updated.

We also have another 300 Brass Wind titles to import into Zeus that we didn't know about.
This will complete the Brass Wind catalogue!

November 2010

Welcome to Chris McKay, our new HighlandHost manager!

Latest MPA database imports completed. Hundreds of new titles from Faber, OUP, ABRSM and others.

Add Suppliers on-line yourself (At Last!)...

Directly from the 'Add publication' page, a new button invokes a brand new feature that allows administrators to add their own publishers, manufacturers, record labels and distributors to Zeus. But please double check that the supplier you are adding is not there already, (or chaos will no doubt ensue)!!!

Ian Stevenson Leaving HighlandHost

After nearly 3 years, Ian has finally found his dream job near Falkirk (where his good lady and their jointly owned flat await him). We wish you well, Ian, and thanks for your safe custody of Highlandhost!

Meanwhile, we are proud to announce the appointment of Chris McKay to the job of IT manager at Spartan, who is due to start work at Strathmashie in November. Chris went to school in Edinburgh, studied law at Dundee University, worked for the Home Office and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and then spent a decade working in the USA, mostly in the computer department of Stanford University, California.

EPOS module complete - and rather wonderful!

October 2010: Seanic Retail EPOS module complete, and documentation available on application from mark@spartanpress.co.uk. This serious bit of code aligns products from Sean Atkinson's EPOS system with Zeus products, and automatically updates stock on the website each night, as well as providing powerful data audit and integrity utilities.

Phoenix Titles added and prices updated

September 13th: Kath Bank's Phoenix Music now has all 588 titles included in Zeus, with all the prices updated.

Hundreds of new music added thanks to MPA data feed

September 2nd saw the final import of the last batch of new data, purchased from the MPA, representing new music published from January - July 2010.  At last I have caught up! More to go though (there is no end to it of course)... Phoenix prices going up in October for example....

Performance improvements for Administrators

4th August 2010, (and even more so the 17th August) saw great improvements in the performance speed of the Administrator's Pages. The routine viewing of pending (new) products in departments other than printed music (e.g. CDs, Accessories etc.) was taking too long. The data structure has now been revised and although there will be a still be a (now very short) wait while administrators initially log in, the interface from there-on-in behaves very much faster. Thanks for the feedback, folks!

More flexible programming to help searching across 'departments'

Those Zeus customers that have upgraded to have different departments (e.g. Accessories, Gifts, CDs, Instruments) will LOVE this:

Ian Stevenson has completed a free upgrade for all 'department' website customers.
To illustrate what he has done, an example (or two) is needed to demonstrate...

If a customer is browsing in your 'Accessories' Department and enters the search term 'Sax' on the home page 'quick search' box, there may well be some accessories that involve a sax (e.g. sax mouth piece).

The customer may just want to buy a sax from your instrument department, or printed music for sax... so the new code searches ALL DEPARTMENTS behind the scenes. If it finds anything interesting, it says 'YES - we have some accessories to do with 'Sax' but you may like to know that there are 14 instruments, 234 sheet music items and 134 CDs that match your search term too!

Up until now if you have just typed e.g. 'Vandoren' into the search term while browsing sheet music you may have been told that there are no results that match. What happens now is that you and your customers are shown a link to see your 'Vandoren' products in all other departments.

New ABRSM Syllabus Preparations for July 2010

June 24th 2010: All the new ABRSM Piano exam titles 2011-2012, new Specimen Aural Tests and Organ scales and sight-reading titles have been added to Zeus, with images where available, all ready for their official release in July.  

MPA dealer day, June 9th 2010

The MPA hosted a conference 'Growing Printed Music Sales Together' in June. This was well attended by dealers and publishers alike from around the UK, including 10 Zeus administrators! The most interesting talk, from a website point of view, was given by 'Ayima Search Marketing'. Mark Goddard was at the conference, and Ian and Mark have already met to discuss the full implications of the talk, and to act on any benefits available from the many pearls of wisdom imparted by the Ayima team.

Search Engine Optimisation

The good news is, Google (who hold 90% of the search market) loves the Zeus system, and this was borne out by the information in the talk. Properly linked pages, lots of rich text information that changes daily, links from other commercial sites and properly set-up tags within the html. But there were some new secrets that we can learn from, and tweaks are being undertaken to ensure that we all benefit from this wonderful "inside information"!

Google Analytics

This utility can be added as an extra to an individual dealer's site for those that are interested in such detailed information (some administrators already have it up and running). It takes about an hour for us to register, install and test all the components, and so would incur a modest charge for us to install this for you. Please let me know if you would like us to do this.

More price updates

April/May 2010 Emerson Edition prices went up. These prices have all been edited now on Zeus.

Spring 2010:  Thousands of prices have been bulk adjusted for titles published by Boosey and Hawkes, Henle and Doblinger.

As a website administrator you now have full control over which 'Featured Products' randomly appear on the right of your home page

March 1st saw the launch of this new and much awaited facility on Zeus, inspired by the continuing development of the new 'departments' module, but benefiting all users... Administrators can now monitor and control which products they want to "feature" on the home page. The pool from which cover images are randomly selected can now be quickly edited on a per website basis, all controlled from the Zeus back-end. And... if your site runs various departments, then each department has its own "image pool".  If you want to give more exposure to particular products that you specialize in, for example, this is one way to do it. Another good use of this new upgrade would be to select a higher number of seasonal products when the time comes...

To make all this easy: when you are logged in as an administrator, the myaccount page will give you summaries of each departments image pool automatically, with links to browse/edit them. The advanced search page now has an extra tick box to restrict search results to those products that you have chosen to feature, and you can simply 'add' or 'remove' products from either the product list view or details view at the click of a mouse.

The number of random images that appear on your home page, and the exact size of those images is now more easily adjustable, but only from Strathmashie. So if you have always fancied having say 3 smallish images appearing on the home page instead of two, or just one slightly bigger one for example, all this is tweakable! Please contact Ian or Mark at Spartan.

This is a free upgrade for all. 

If you would like a bit of help getting to grips with the 'featured products image pool' concept, please get in touch and we can talk you through some examples on the phone. But don't worry:- we have set-up each site such that you don't HAVE to do anything if you don't want to yet - we have already selected a 'vanilla flavoured', default portfolio of popular products as it appeared before from which you can build.

Departments other than 'Sheet music'

Late February saw a fully upgraded version of our departments module. Subscribers to 'departments' can now take full and individual charge of all their own prices outside of the sheetmusic realm.

Time saver...

A new feature to 'replicate' your products, whether a publication, an accessory, a musical instrument, CD, gift, or whatever, has been added to the Zeus system. Using this new link (from all product details pages, you can very quickly create (or 'replicate') a 'series' of related products.

For example, the Mapac "Duo Music Bags", in the accessory department, are now grouped together, exhibiting colour variants like 'Blue', 'Black', 'Red' etc.

ABRSM price update complete

February 1st 2010 saw 650 ABRSM products change their prices - these have now been bulk adjusted in the database.  If you happen to notice any particular publisher's prices are different on Zeus PLEASE let me know so that I can contact that publisher and update the prices centrally here, or better still, email mark@spartanpress.co.uk a spreadsheet with 'em all in and I will do the honours ASAP!

Naxos data and images added to Zeus, January 2010

For customers interested in the Zeus "CD Department" module, over 2,000 Naxos CDs were added at the end of January, including photographs of all the jewel case designs. There is more work to do, and many more record labels can now be added, but this forms a useful starting point and will grow from here on in.

New 'Departments' Feature has been available since summer 2009...

August/September 2009: This new module allows your Zeus website to be able to expand to include other departments for instruments, accessories, gifts and CDs for example. This new module attracts a small additional set-up/maintenance fee, but represents a huge step forward and has already been taken up by a number of major UK music dealers. Unlike sheet music titles, all products associated with departments like instruments and gifts can be either 'approved' or 'hidden' for your individual website. We have written new administrator tools to quickly and easily peruse your own tailored "product profile" through any of four views:

  • View just those products that you have approved (as a browsing customer would)
  • View just those products that you have hidden, (you have the tools to re-instate them)
  • View just those products that have been added to the database by someone else which require you to make a decision... 'Approve'/'Hide'
  • View ALL records:- 'Pending', 'Approved' and 'Hidden'.  

A simple click of a button instantly changes the status of each product, and there is also a fabulously powerful bulk 'accept' or 'decline' button for any number of products within a search result set. For example, you can search for all 'Guvnor' guitars, and hide them in a single clicks

[We are currently investigating the potential to allow such individual product display control for  sheet music titles too... but are being mindful of performance issues: our search engine is blisteringly fast at the moment and we don't want to slow things down... but watch this space.]

For upgrade prices and more information, see our article on Highlandhost.net

This major development has also inspired the Zeus team to drastically improve the whole 'edit' and 'add' product/image routine. This is currently being streamlined to allow your changes, additions and image uploads to be automatically approved on-line and made instantly 'LIVE' on your website. Its imperative that the security and integrity of our mutually shared system is scrupulously defended, but we believe we now have the security in place to proceed in safety.

Thousands of new cover images added this year...

This summer, we  have been employing Jim Langley to scan, crop, rename and upload missing cover images. Ian wrote a special software suite to tell us which images were missing at any given time, and Jim has been scanning over 100 covers a day since May! The total number of cover images available on the Zeus system has now risen to over 29,500 (24,500 of which also offer a 'see larger image' link too). I am sure you would agree, it makes a fantastic difference to the customer to be able to see the book cover they are interested in, displayed on the screen, rather that the dreaded 'Image not available' text that so many lesser music websites invariably display!

New Stock Control Module

July 2009: The first step towards your Zeus system providing full EPOS. This flexible stock control module (an optional extra) includes the ability not only to show your current stock level of each publication, but also for you to offer separate bespoke 'sale' prices, sell second hand sheet music, provide promotional offers, and much more.  Customers can search for what is currently 'on offer', or even to filter their search results to show what is in stock at your shop!

UMP, Itchy Fingers, Sikorski prices updated

April - May saw continued efforts to keep our prices accurate. On May 13th, 81 UMP, 33 Itchy Fingers,  153 Sikorski and 48 BMG prices were adjusted - the vast majority, but not all, in an upward direction.

Music Sales and Stainer and Bell Price update

4,090 Music Sales prices, and 1,290 Stainer and Bell prices were increased on March 6th, 2009

Peters Edition Price update

6,775 prices were increased on March 5th, 2009.

UMP Price update

A further 250 prices for UMP were updated on February 17th 2009.

Volatile Prices Warnings

During February, it was mutually agreed to warn customers regarding the extreme price rises that have been affecting the music from about 10% of publishers (mostly from UMP). Code changes have been made to the search results page, the details view of each publication and the basket/checkout pages. A new information popup (prices.php) is activated from various appropriate places, as follows:

Prices

Our policy is to charge the publisher's recommended selling price in all cases, but please note that all prices are subject to change without notice and that certain items (marked '+') may be prone to severe price fluctuations. This affects imported products particularly, and is caused by frequent and sometimes dramatic movements in the exchange rate (e.g. the British Pound against the Euro or American Dollar).

Product prices and other details on kershawmusic.co.uk are updated by our dedicated team on a daily basis, and we use various advanced techniques to keep the data as accurate as possible, but even so, please do not regard the prices as gospel!

If you are in any doubt, please do feel free to contact us first.

 

Big push on price updates

During January 2009, over 40,000 prices UMP were updated on Zeus. Of these, about 26,000 were within 30% of the 'old price', with the remaining 14,000 prices were dramatically incremented, in line with UMP's latest staggering price rises! Further work on updating prices on Zeus (from Music Sales particularly) are happening with a vengeance during the last week of January, and as long as it takes.

Now more flexibility on P & P

As of near the end of December P & P can be changed for online orders not only when an order is new but also at the 'Awaiting payment' and 'Processing' stages.

Change to Standard Rate Value Added Tax

The vast majority of products on this website are classed as "Printed Music", and (happily) 'Zero Rated' for VAT purposes. So the prices of these products will NOT be effected at all by the Chancellor's recent VAT change reduction. But we have to charge "Standard Rated" VAT on certain items:

for example:

  • Compact Discs sold separately to printed music
  • Manuscript paper
  • Greetings Cards
  • Accessories
 

Zeus database administrator improvement

November saw an addition to the 'Manage orders' section of the administrator's pages. Items can now be added to a customer's invoice after the order has been placed. Items can also be edited and deleted as required.

MDS Price Rises

September saw more coding done at Strathmashie on a new and long awaited price increase module for Zeus. Price rise notifications in a variety of data formats and from a range of different sources can now be imported with ease, yet with strong validation. The new program 'checks' the new prices before importing, highlighting any oddities for investigation prior to import. During October, we checked and installed prices increases from Amadeus, Schott, Henle and Eulenburg using the new routine.

Oversize books

September 31st, 2008. Publications marked as 'Oversize' are now clearly displayed as such on the details page. This can be helpful regarding shelving the book and also vetos the use of the Royal Mail 'large letter' service. If you want to report any large format publications that the system needs to know about, please email mark@spartanpress.co.uk

Firefly withdrawn

September 2008: We have withdrawn the 84 Firefly products from Zeus following a request from a sheetmusic manager. These titles have proved almost impossible to obtain.

Many more Barcodes

Sepember 2008: We have added thousands of barcode numbers to zeus during the summer, including ismn numbers, isbn numbers and UPC codes. As you will know, many publications can have as many as three barcodes! Our data structure allows for this, and all this will help to identify products at point of sale, many of which are desceptively similar of course!

Big import of String Music

..The entire database of www.FullerMusic.co.uk was imported, July - August, adding many thousands of standard string repertoire titles to Zeus from a variety of publishers, some new, some established. The specially written import utility succeeded in 'merging' much of the 'duplicate' data but unfortunately, despite our best efforts, some publications have been duplicated on the system. To address this problem, we have written further utilities, and are now actively involved in 'pruning' the unwanted data records(!).

Editions Peters and Breitkopf are now on board

...from May-June 2008

Peters Edition and associated Agencies (over 8,000 titles: "One of he widest ranges of sheet music in existence") are now being energetically imported into Zeus, thanks to the new import module.

Boosey and Hawkes Prices updated

From April 2008, over 900 prices on Zeus were updated following a gentle Boosey and Hawkes price increase.

Zeus content editing launched

from March 2008

We are pleased to announce that this is available NOW as a software 'upgrade'. The new Zeus Content Management System (CMS) enables you to edit the text of specific "areas" of your site and include photographs in your content in a much more flexible way than we at first thought possible. It took much thought and effort to write the 'code' because of the unique 'shared' structure of the various Zeus sites, which had to be protected from accidental damage (for example): we could not allow ordinary 'ftp' access for this reason. The new system uses the database itself to contain your 'stories', with a unique, quiet place on the server for your own uploaded graphics, combined with a user interface that pulls the whole thing together over a secure connection, allowing you to 'compose' within an easy to use "word processor" environment.

The new "module" has been successfully piloted since the start of the year, and is now available for install as required.

It is flexible enough to be able to allow you to edit your static pages (e.g. 'terms', 'delivery', 'about us') should you ever wish to, as well as develop more complex content management scenarios of multiple lists of different 'news' item categories from any page on your site. Stories, news items, etc. can be added whenever you like, edited and later 'hidden' as required. The facilities allows your to present seasonal offers, regular articles, hire library info, second hand instrument inventories, recommended teachers lists, etc etc.

The upgrade charge is £95.00 plus VAT, and includes the installation of the software on your domain.

New Vocal Categories

February 2nd, 2008 saw the addition of several new extra categories to help vocalists find the right music: VOICE (Soprano). VOICE (Alto). VOICE (Mezzo). VOICE (Tenor). VOICE(Baritone), VOICE (Bass). VOICE (High). VOICE (Low).

Books on Music and Theory clean-up

An overhaul of the way books are categorised on Zeus was undertaken by the ever diligent Jon Kershaw. New categories such as BIOGRAPHY, MUSICIANSHIP and TECHNOLOGY now help to move the browsing customer to the right information quickly.

Rockschool

Mid-January, 2008 saw an improvement in the presentation of the best selling Rockschool series. New cover pictures, price upgrades and description enhancements.

ISMN numbers (40,045 of them) changed!

January 1st, 2008, was the date from which International Standard Music Numbers (ISMN) have to appear in a new 13 digit format. The Zeus database is now fully compliant.

For example:

14 Studies for Cornet by Arban from Boosey & Hawkes

  • ISMN M-060-01037-8
    becomes:
  • ISMN 979-0-060-01037-8

Music Vault (from Faber) and Phylloscopus Publications

December 9th, 2007: another 3,800 'pop' titles, this time from Faber's 'Music Vault' label have been added to the Zeus database. These are the made-to-order archive copies from the back catalogue of IMP (Warner Brothers). Also new this week, the complete Phylloscopus catalogue (made available uniquely for Zeus). This catalogue (some 600 titles published since 1989, is most famous for it's wind chamber music, but now includes a number of important Associated Board titles.

New deal with PMD signed

We are pleased to announce the successful signing of a long term agreement with the printed music data supply company "Print Music Data" (run by Nick King - ex Chappells of Bond Street). What this means, is that Zeus will now be updated on a monthly basis with all new publications from the major publishers automatically. Nick will be supplying Highlandhost's Zeus system with rich biographical data for an average of about 500 new titles each and every month. The first (and largest) import of all new music published Jan 2007 to December 2007, will enrich the main Zeus database during mid-December 2007. This injection will include much needed 'pop titles' from Faber and Music Sales, as well as classical and educational titles from OUP, MDS etc.

Editing of line items on an order

On 7th December, 2007, the 'Manage Orders' routine, accessible only by Administrators via 'My Accounts', and 'View Orders', was improved significantly. The key fields for each item on a customer order are now fully editable. If, for example, while an order is being processed, a book arrives from a publisher with a higher price than quoted originally, this new price can now be input using the 'Edit' link on the right of each invoice line item. Also editable are customer discounts (if your site is set-up to allow discounts), quantity (in case a customer rings up to order additional copies), and VAT status (just in case we got this wrong when importing from certain publishers' data). Certain edits (e.g. revised price) will be incorporated into the on-line Zeus database automatically, and changed permanently in the master database once approved at Strathmashie (automatic price change notification system now in place).

Your postage and packing charges are also now more easily editable in the same manner. Some sophisticated logic incorporated into the code now flags P&P charges, suggesting an alternative in highlighter yellow, if the newly edited order requires a revised postage and packing charge, according to your specific delivery terms.

The 'Last modified date and time' is carefully recorded so that:

a) The date of the last modification appears at the top of the screen if the order has been modified in any way

b) Customer status emails are gently flagged with an asterisk if they were sent before the latest changes were made to the order, in case the customer needs to be informed again.

Highlandhost's server migration is complete

The process of moving all of Highlandhost's websites onto our new server has now been achieved (early December 2007). Although the process took longer than expected, and certainly longer than we had hoped, overall it has been a terrific success. All sites are now running on the 'Ubuntu' operating system which, as well as being well known, is extremely well supported, meaning that all web sites and software can be upgraded with ease, keeping us up to date with the latest developments, and all with the latest and strongest possible security updates.

Alternative catalogue number displayed for a product

On November 7th, 2007, the details page of each publication was enhanced by displaying an alternative catalogue number or 'altocatno' field (if there is one for the product). This field can be useful by helping to identify the exact product were our catalogue number is not the same as the publisher's (perhaps because of a possible clash within the database) or the product is known by several numbers (historically because of various distributors getting involved for example).

Barcode functionality improved

Added during October 2007, a new search field called "Barcode/ismn/isbn" was added to the Search in Detail page. If you use a barcode reader, you can scan into this field and search for a particular book that way. The search engine is adjusted such that if you type a partial barcode number with or without hyphens, spaces, the letter 'M', the letters 'ISMN' OR the letters 'ISBN', the book(s) will still be found quickly. Try it and see how you get on. We would be interested to hear from you.

We could carry this further if any one was interested: for example, most barcode readers can be programmed using ADF to pre-pend and append key combinations to their basic output: meaning that the scanner, if used, could navigate automatically to the search page, put the focus on the barcode field, populate the field with the number AND (as it were...) 'click' the 'Display Results' button in one pull of the trigger!

This also leads on to being able to use your website as a stock control system. Email Mark@highlandhost.net if you are interested in harnessing this capability.

"Print a Stock Card" facility

Added during September 2007, administrators will now see a button to "Print a Stock Card" from each publication details page. The resulting A4 (landscape) card, should help dealers develop a "quick and dirty" non-computerised stock control system, should they wish to.

I want to edit my own site!!

Plans ARE in place (September 2007) to allow administrators to easily edit certain areas of content on their own site independently, but because of many reasons, this is not as straight forward as it first appears, primarily because of the shared, yet commercial nature of the Zeus database structure. For example:

  1. Data security and access validation
  2. The importance of overall site reliability
  3. Unix permissions (technical restrictions)
  4. User names and passwords (security issues)

But we are working on solutions to these issues.

In the mean time...

Info on the home page, is held currently in three separate files, one for each of these areas:
  • home page central 'chit-chat' paragraphs (but... can include 'dynamic' links and elements)
  • special catalogue links on the left (these involve special '$_GET' variables)
  • company info (links to individual plain html pages - easier to handle!).

These files are currently NOT-EDITABLE directly, and any required changes are "chargeable" on an hourly basis.
BUT... if you require regular changes to these (although the system was never designed to allow this), we can email you the specific .php files, you could make your own changes and then email them back. We would then have to check syntax and finally upload them for you. This work is still chargeable of course.

The same applies to the individual policy statements (e.g. on various pop-ups along the bottom of the screen). These were originally conceived as being set in stone.
[NON-EDITABLE directly, as above] these include:

  • company menu
  • privacy
  • terms
  • delivery
  • email footer
  • payment methods

Easiest to handle are pages held on separate domain names, were you are in total control. These can be linked to with no restrictions, and may be the key to it. Watch this space!
Examples might be:

  • News items
  • Teacher's register
  • Special offers this month
  • Instrument page
  • Hire page
  • etc....

[NON-EDITABLE and changes are chargeable]

  • Style sheets (several layers of these - rather complex, and therefore expensive!)
  • New banner graphics (shouldn't need to keep changes these, surely, once launched?)
  • Internal programming (e.g. postage and packing formulae - web-master stuff ONLY!).

Music listed as part of a 'Series' has been improved

The website programming that deals with the presentation of the details of each title has been improved (September 2007). If the currently viewed title is part of a series, your customer is now presented with either


Contents of new ABRSM flute/clarinet/violin titles added

Callum Harper, working with Spartan during September, diligently added each of the 'contents' of the new ABRSM flute and clarinet titles onto the Zeus database. When website users search for a piece on your website, Zeus will present in the search results both the title of any books that match, as well as any items of listed contents in the database. By way of example, if you search in the 'quick search' box for hedgehogs, you see this.

Syllabi Information Improved

Database fields were added and programming scripts updated during August to provide specific start and end date information on all the exam syllabi that we present. For example, from now, any syllabus that starts within 6 months is labelled as 'NEW' on the 'Exam Music Search' page (e.g. the new ABRSM Flute and Clarinet syllabi published in July 2007). Pat Goddard is in charge of editing syllabus information on the database.

Emerson Edition

In late July, 2007, all 480+ Emerson Edition titles were carefully added to the database. We see June Emerson as something of a 'Monarch' in woodwind publishing terms, and we are proud to include her catalogue in it's entirety.

Music Sales cover images

Tens of thousands of titles with 'AM' prefixes had their cover pictures refreshed in early July, in both the thumbnail (96px), medium (200px) AND large (500px) sizes. This helps promote the Rock & Pop section, but there is more work to do now on the Faber side.

UMP added

The last of UMP's vast catalogue was added in it's entirety during Spring 2007. This was a 64,000 line spreadsheet. We had to 'invent' our own catalogue number, prefixing with UMP. It is dissapointing that the information regarding specific publishers has been withheld by UMP: we have done our best in the circumstances!

OUP Prices

OUP prices were updated, early 2007.


Unit 2B


Music Awards Programme


Alfred with Helga