Syndicated Show Playlist File Specifications

Each calendar quarter, syndicated show producers must provide NPR Digital Services (NPR/DS) with playlist logs detailing all of the songs (copyrighted sound recordings) played during the entire quarter. These files must be provided in a specific file format in order for PI to be able to process them for incorporation into individual stations’ SoundExchange (SX) reports.

Required Data Fields Per Recording Played

For each song played the following information must be reported:

  • Program Title – A show identifier provided by NPR/DS, e.g., Echoes
  • Show Date – Usually the opening date of the broadcast window from the Content Depot, e.g. 3/10/2010
  • Song Title – Title of track as broken down by the label on CD or album
  • Featured Artist/Group/Orchestra – The performing artist(s) featured prominently on the album
  • Album Title – Required even for classical plays (provide what’s on the CD/album spine)
  • Record Label – Owner of copyright to the sound recording
  • Start Time - Time song play started relative to show start, e.g., 00:05:30
  • End Time OR Duration - Time song play ended (relative to show start) OR duration of song play e.g., 00:08:45

Required Syndicate Show Playlist Log File Format

Your playlist log file(s) must adhere to the following format in order for us to be able to process your files:

  1. It must be a tab-delimited (i.e. single tab separating each field of data) text file; no Word, RTF, PDF or XLS files. If you have your data in a spreadsheet (i.e. an xls file), please save the file as a tab-delimited text file before sending to us.
  2. The first row of the file must be a header row (also tab-delimited) using the exact field identifiers specified below to indicate what data is in each column:
  3. Each subsequent row in the file contains data on one song play, with data fields in the order specified by the header row, and the data in each field formatted as specified below
  4. The Program Title and Show Date must be included in each data row (i.e., for each song play)
  5. All songs for a single day’s show must be grouped together in the file
  6. Field identifiers (for use in the header row) and data formats must adhere to the following:


Other things to note:

  1. * denotes a required field. If you leave a required field blank, the record will be rejected. To avoid this, if you don’t have the information for that record, just enter NA.
  2. Episode ID is an optional field for any specific show identifier (other than Show Date) that you use.
  3. There are no restrictions or requirements regarding the file name (we don’t use the file name in any way). However, we recommend, simply as good practice, that you include the show name and reporting period in the file name.
  4. It’s OK to have other data fields in the file (e.g. Composer, Release Year), as long as they have a field identifier so we can exclude them during processing
  5. Playlists for multiple show dates can be included in a single file, again so long as each day’s plays are grouped together
  6. Playlists for different shows (e.g. World Cafe, Thistle & Shamrock) can be included in the same file; just be sure to follow #3 above and group playlists for a specific show on a specific day together

Here is a sample playlist log file that demonstrates this format.

Note that the columns do not have to line up visually! Remember, these files will be processed by an automated script, not a human; the script doesn’t need (or want) the columns to line up visually.

Sample Reporting Spreadsheet

If you do not have a tool for entering your show’s playlist information, one common solution is to use a spreadsheet.

Here is a sample playlist spreadsheet that you could use to generate the required file for NPR/DS.

Before submitting to NPR/DS, please make sure to save the file as a tab-delimited text file. To do so in Excel go to File -> Save As, then underFormat choose Tab Delimited Text (.txt). Do not submit the xls file to NPR/DS, or it will be rejected!

Unified Playlist Reporting Spreadsheet

In an effort to make reporting across the various entities (e.g. BMI, SiriusXM, ASCAP, etc.) easier we have worked with NPR, PRI and APM to come up with aunified reporting spreadsheet for you to track all of the various data fields required by the various organizations in one place.

Download this unified playlist entry spreadsheet here

DISCLAIMER: We’ve worked with NPR, PRI and APM to come up with a spreadsheet that would be also acceptable to BMI, SiriusXM and ASCAP as a courtesy to producers to ease the reporting burden. However, NPR/DS is notresponsible for submitting reports to organizations other than SoundExchange on behalf of stations or producers, so it is ultimately up to the producer (or the syndicating network) to submit an acceptable file to those organizations.

NOTE: If you choose to use this unified spreadsheet to generate a file for NPR/DS (or any spreadsheet, for that matter), you must do the followingbefore submitting to NPR/DS:

  1. Save the file as a tab-delimited text file
  2. Remove ALL rows above the header row (i.e., the row containing the field identifiers)

Data Submission Method

Data files are submitted to NPR/DS via an FTP dropbox account provided by NPR/DS. More details on submitting data files is available here. Data files will not be accepted via email, CD or any other methods.

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