Composer Basic Quick Start Guide

This page presents the steps for getting started using Composer Basic. Complete documentation is contained in the Composer Basic User Guide.


Your station has its own unique URL and username/password for accessing Composer Basic. If you have forgotten or lost any of these, send us an emailand we will get that information to you.


The first thing your station will need to do is review and accept the Terms of Service, which grants NPR Digital Services (NPR/DS) permission to collect your data and submit reports to SoundExchange on your behalf,  and also gives you access to Composer Basic. Without this, NPR/DS cannot deliver your station’s reports to SoundExchange, even if your station has given us all the required reporting data.

The Terms of Service exist to provide transparency about how Public Interactive and NPR plan to use your station’s data for SoundExchange reporting and are meant to be fair and simple.


Next, review your station’s contact and stream information by navigating to the Edit Station Information screen under SoundExchange Dashboard on the home page or in the “What do you want to do?” global navigation drop down at the top of every screen:


  That will take you here:


  You will see the information your station provided to Public Interactive at the time of registration for SoundExchange reporting. Please be sure to make any corrections or changes to this information that have occurred since your station registered with us.


For each of your content streams you must specify your chosen reporting period for the current reporting quarter; these are based on calendar quarters (Q1 January 1 – March 31, Q2 April 1 – June 30, Q3 July 1 – September 30, Q4 October 1 – December 31). There are multiple ways to get to the screen for setting these dates. The easiest way is to navigate to theSelect Report Dates screen using the global What do you want to do?navigation drop down at the top of each screen, which will take you here:


  If you are reporting on a 14-day sample from the quarter (as opposed to full quarter reporting) you would uncheck the “Disregard dates and use full quarter instead” check box and using the date drop downs specify the starting date of both of your chosen reporting weeks.

If you offer multiple content streams, you must specify reporting weeks for each one separately. You can navigate between the Select Report Dates screens for each of your content streams by using the drop-down toggle in the upper right hand corner of that screen.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When specifying your two chosen reporting weeks in Composer Basic, you specify the start dates of each week, rather than the start and end dates of your reporting period. We do it this way because stations are free to choose two non-consecutive reporting weeks.

For example, if your Q4 2009 reporting weeks cover December 1 – December 14, 2009, you would specify December 1, 2009 as the start of week one and December 8, 2009 as the start of week two.


Once you are ready to send us playlist and/or streaming log files for each of your streams, go to the Upload Playlists/Streaming Logs screen either via the global drop down navigation or using the links on the View Reports screen. That will take you to this screen:


  There is a separate Upload Logs screen for each of your station’s content streams. You can navigate between the different upload screens using the drop down selection “Upload Logs for Stream” at the top of the page.

The top of the screen will show you any files that have already been uploaded to us. For playlist files, this screen will also give you an idea of whether the format is correct and whether there are any errors with the file.

Files that have been uploaded can be viewed by clicking on the File Name. Playlist files get preprocessed shortly after uploading; files that have been preprocessed will have a View link in either (or both) of the Processed File or Error File columns. The Processed File will include all entries from the uploaded playlist file that will be included in the final report generated for SoundExchange.

The Error File will contain any records that could not be included, usually due to a formatting error. It can also contain error messages describing problems with the file and how to fix them. For example, if the header row of a playlist file does not contain the proper field names, then none of the records in the file can be processed and the Error File will indicate this.

If, after a playlist file has been uploaded, there is only a Processed File that can be viewed, that means that all of the records in the file will be included in the final reports.

If, after a playlist file has been uploaded, there is only an Error File that can be viewed, that means that none of the records in the file could be processed and none will be included in the final reports.

Uploaded files containing errors can be deleted by checking the Delete checkbox and clicking on Delete selected files.

The middle of the screen will display the current chosen reporting period for the content stream stream in question. These dates can be set or changed by clicking on the “Click here to change these dates” link underneath.

Upload new files using the form at the bottom of the Upload Logs screen. Using the drop down selectors, please be sure to specify the type of file being uploaded (either or playlist or streaming).


An additional service that Public Interactive will provide for stations is to collect playlists for certain syndicated programs for integration into individual station reports. In order to do so we will need to know what shows your station streamed and when during your chosen reporting period each quarter.

Complete documentation for inputting or updating guide information is contained in the Composer Basic User Guide.

Please review the guide information that we currently have for each of your streams by going to the Create/Edit Program Guide screen for each content stream, using the drop down navigation or from the Composer Basic home page. That will take you here:



NOTE: If your station offers more than one content stream, access the Create/Edit Program Guide screen for other streams by using the My Stations drop down in the upper right hand corner, and then clicking on Create/Edit Program Guide.

  The full list of syndicated programs that we currently get playlist data for  (which continues to grow) is here.

By default, the system simply assigns the syndicated show playlist based on the date. If, however, you streamed a particular show on a different day from its original air date, you can specify what episode of that syndicated program you streamed. To do so, go to Create/Edit A Playlist, which will take you here:

  Create/Edit A Playlist

Then click the choose Syndicated icon  for the show and date in question which will take you here:

  Choose Syndicated Show Episode

Then simply select the desired episode by ID or date.

NOTE: Syndicated show producers are responsible for uploading the playlists for their shows and many don’t do so until after the showed has aired, or after the quarter ends. Also, choosing an episode does not apply to continuous (24×7) syndicated offerings, such as Classical 24 and JazzWorks.



You can review and download previous SoundExchange reports (if any) that we have generated and submitted on your station’s behalf (organized by calendar quarter and content stream), by navigating to the View Reportsscreen, again using the global drop down navigation, which should take you here:



If you run into any bugs or errors with Composer Basic, please fill out this form or email us at Please be sure to include the following information:

1. The OS/browser combination that you use, including version numbers (e.g. Mac OS X Version 10.6.2/Firefox Version 3.5.5).

2. The URL of the page you were on when the error occurred.

3. What actions led to the error.

4. Any resulting error message that were displayed.

5. Your contact info.

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