WordPress Online Songlist Database

**NOTE** This article assumes you have a working knowledge of WordPress administration.

It seemed that my printed karaoke songlist books went out of date nearly as soon as I printed new ones. Once I bought new CD+G discs or MP3+G tracks, those printed lists were incomplete. This could be worked around by creating a ‘New Songs’ section in the songbooks, but wasn’t ideal.

Now that most people have smartphones and tablets, putting my songlist database online so my guests could search it from their own phones makes sense to me. I’ll still keep one or two printed books, but I won’t worry so much about not keeping the main sections updated anymore. I looked at some of the online songlist services, but all of them I saw had a subscription price. I figured if I had to pay, $19 annually wasn’t bad, but decided to try to find a way to do it on a WordPress site first.

I looked at a lot of plug-ins and never found one specifically for karaoke, but I did find just what I needed in the TablePress plug-in. This lets you create a database table in WordPress Administrator and then you can plug that table into a post or page on your WordPress site. This plug-in is quick and easy to install and configure.

I already had all of my songs listed in an Excel (XLSX) spreadsheet. This was perfect, since all I had to do was import them into a new table in TablePress. TablePress accepts several different formats for import, although some are listed as ‘experimental’.

  • CSV – Character-Separated Values
  • HTML – Hypertext Markup Language
  • JSON – JavaScript Object Notation
  • XLS – MicroSoft Excel 97-2003 (experimental)
  • XLSX – MicroSoft Excel 2007-2013 (experimental)

Even though my data was in XLSX, I decided to save it as CSV and import the CSV file, since XLSX is in the experimental stage. For this table, I wanted to be the data was good. Saving an XLSX file to CSV is as easy as clicking File and Save As, then choosing the CSV format, and it only took a moment to do this.

TablePress has options to add the imported data as a new table, replace an existing table, or to append the data as new rows to an existing table. For this initial import, I chose the option to add as a new table. The import was quick and easy.

I plan to keep my songlist spreadsheet updated every time I buy new karaoke songs for a few reasons. First, I want to keep one or two printed songbooks around. Second, it is easier to add the data to my spreadsheet, then save it and import it to TablePress when I am done. I will use the option to replace the existing table when I update in the future, so that I don’t have to save the new tracks separately. I think it will be easier to just replace all of the data.

Once I had my data imported into a new table, I simply copied the shortcode that TablePress provides for that table and pasted the shortcode into a WordPress page I had created to display my songlist on the site. As soon as I published the page, the table was immediately available for users.

By default, the users see a paginated table that shows ten rows at a time. They can change that option to show more rows on a single page if they wish. They can use the arrow buttons under the table to scroll through the pages. Clicking any of the top header row items will sort the table by that header. If they click ‘Artist’, it will sort the rows by artist, etc. It also provides a search tool in the upper right area just above the table which can be used to quickly find a value. So, if a singer wants to find all of the Fleetwood Mac songs I have, they only need to type that phrase or part of it into the search field.

Once I found the right plug-in, setting up my online songlist was really easy and it will be a cinch to keep it updated. Now everyone with a smartphone or tablet at my karaoke shows can have their own songbook instead of waiting their turn for a printed one. If the room is dark, they don’t have to worry about trying to read a book since their device screen is lit. And they can find the songs they want quickly so they can spend more time having fun with the other guests rather than sitting and flipping through the pages of a printed book all night.

I hope this helps you if you are trying to set up your own online song book. If you have any questions for me on this, just leave a comment on this post.

 

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