Jump to content
Mander Organs
MusingMuso

Simply Unread, Or Just Never Heard?

Recommended Posts

I was listening to a radio programme last night whilst on the hoof, and it concerned the parlous state of the recording industry and the enormous damage done by "Napster" and free music downloading. Apparently, some recording artists involved in pop-music "Mick Hucknell of "Simply Red" was one commentator) are now saying that they will no more have CD compilations released due to the collapse in CD sales across the world. The jist of the programme seemed to suggest that the age of physical CD sales is more or less over, and the new marketing method is to allow I-pod downloads, paid by the individual track at about 80p a time. (Making a whole equivalent of an album much the same price as a CD).

 

The interesting thing to emerge from this was the absolute un-preparedness of the record industry, which found its sales plummeting as the digital age encroached on their traditional sales pitch and modus operandi.

 

My thought turned (as they often do), to the sheet-music business, which now seems to be in a similar position to some extent, but in a rather more negative and even destructive way.

 

If we take a leap of imagination, and pretend that we are at the helm of a great publishing house, just how do we make enough money to keep the shareholders/owners happy?

 

It seems to me that there is the traditional market, and a potentially new market, but being the conservative and moribund creatures that they are, music publishers seem to be crawling under stones, and going back to what business analysts like to call "core businesses."

 

A "core business" is that which has worked in the past, and into which all businesses regress when things go wrong. The related terms are "rationalisation", "cost cutting", "asset stripping", "sell offs" and "cherry picking”. In other words, getting the most amount of money for the least amount of effort and the least amount of change.

 

The entrepreneurs of this world are those who identify new markets, new methods and new technology, and "Napster" was an object lesson in how to go about it, even if it was illegal. For those who do now know, "Napster" was a programme which enabled tracks to be "ripped" from a data source for free, and exchanged between individuals across the internet.

 

The music-publishing equivalent would be to scan hard copy and send that scan as either an e-mail photo attachment or 'pdf file'. This would be illegal normally; especially since copyright exists not only in the music itself, but in the actual intellectual property involved in creating the printed page and layout. However, unless there is an obvious commercial advantage, very few transgressions are actually reported or acted upon, unless it involved something like the BBC symphony orchestra broadcasting a published work, and using photocopies!

 

So we have our music-publishing business, and we see people behaving badly and stealing our things by photocopying, or file sharing; this being the exact same position as that suffered by the creators, manufacturers and vendors of CD recordings.

In reality, unless we have huge budgets, the financial muscle is simply not available whereby multiple prosecutions are possible or desirable, and even if the police were to be involved, the chances are they wouldn't want to get involved, due to the complexities and the fact that such copyright theft doesn't quite have the same glamour or priority as children shooting each other with sub-machine guns.

 

Now like the supermarkets, the present trend seems to be that of "cherry picking" titles in such a way that profit is maximised on a volume basis. So 20,000 "Harry Potter" books, at a £1 profit per copy, is better than 23 sales of Homer at a profit of £10 per copy (not Homer Simpson, of course!)

 

So really, what the music publishers are doing is "downsizing", "rationalising", "cost cutting" and "cherry picking." As a consequence, they are on the slippery-slope to self-destruction, because they are failing to adapt to contemporary market trends and opportunities, just as the manufacturer's of records and CD's have been doing during the past decade.

 

The ugly word in all this may seem to be "profit", but actually it isn't!

 

In traditional publishing (including music publishing), the cost of commissioning works, editing, etching or print set-up, proof-reading, pressing hard copy, collating, packaging, distribution and promotion; all had to be taken into consideration at the outset. Consequently, traditional publishing relies on some degree of volume, which has to be anticipated at the outset if big losses are to be averted. After all, if one publishes a work, and spends £20,000 getting it into general release, and the work only sells a few dozen copies, you are soon out of business. This is the traditional mind-set of publishers, and one which goes back to the early days of the printing press. Consequently, in very specialised markets, or contracting markets, the only way to survive is to "cherry pick" and produce the sort of things which sell in some volume. Hence the Kevin Mayhew's of this world, who may do a perfectly good job, but who always play commercially safe.

 

Now whilst this may seem to be commercially sound thinking, the truth is, it probably isn't, because at the business-end, the people who perform works become ever more limited to a "core repertoire" which soon becomes static and stale. (How many times is it possible to hear Bach, Widor, Vierne and Howells recitals, without falling asleep?) Without new or less-well known music being heard at the sharp-end, there is no possibility of music ever being a living, prospering art, and like a great ship, the whole thing slowly sinks in a whirlpool of its own creating, as the musical-publishing and performing world revolves in ever decreasing circles. Worse still, if the established publishers wish to maximise their market sales, what better way than to suppress the availability of alternative material, and confine it to the history books and dusty libraries of academia?

 

Many of you on this board will know of my great interest in Eastern European music, which isn't always great, but which is often very interesting. The best is outstanding, but who would know?

 

The simple fact is, that under the communist regime, profit was something of a dirty word; even though financial reality still ruled the day. However, under the auspices of such regimes, often quite obscure works were published, and if it didn't make a profit, no-one really cared too much. Once the publishing houses of the former communist countries faced up to free-market conditions, they were forced to go the same way as their counterparts or associates operating in the free-market economies. Consequently, one can well imagine some bright young accountant saying, "32 copies a year! You call that business?"

 

Hence, the VAST MJORITY of the organ-repertoire remains unavailable as "out of print", simply because the publishers are trying to carry on their business in the same way that they did 200 years ago. Woe betide the "Napster's" of this world, who work outside the law, because the traditional publishers have a real vested interest in selling what THEY think we should be hearing and buying.

 

Now consider the "i-pod" phenomenon, where music tracks can be downloaded at the press of a button and a simple payment by credit-card, using one of the internationally recognised money exchange systems such as "PayPal". The whole thing is immediate and relatively painless, and off people trot, listening to their favourite music as they walk the streets with their little electronic gizmos and ear-pieces. It is nothing short of a technological revolution, and the same people would not be seen dead walking down the street with a wind-up record-player in a Tesco shopping-trolley!

 

So long as music-publishers retain "copyrights" and hold the material close to their chests, by limiting what is available to that which sells best, then they will not only kill art, they will ultimately self-destruct as interest evaporates.

 

I am quite certain that there is a better alternative business method, which draws on the "i-pod" phenomenon. How many of us would happily pay a £2, to download a printable electronic file, which would drop out of the printer within a couple of minutes? If we enjoyed the work we buy, how many of us would object to paying a further £5 for the right to perform the work in public? That's a lot of money for something which only costs about the same to send as does a text-message.

 

On the other hand, how many of us would take the risk of ordering a hard-copy of traditional Mongolian nomadic tribal folk-songs, at a cost of £30 (plus VAT and postage)?

 

It would be a sad, sad world, if music-publishing was reduced to the supermarket mentality of volume-sales and profit-margins, but that seems to be the way that the old duffers who run it have now taken it, and I suspect that their days are numbered, just like those who still try to survive by selling CD's on the high-street.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some very interesting points made there MM, which i will attempt to provide my thoughts upon.

 

Firstly, as an aside, Napster re-invented itself in 2005 as a legitimate service, where for £15 a month you can download as much as you want, where many of the major labels are on the site, including the entire output of Naxos, among much other organ music (of a good quality.)

 

There is also a website, www.theclassicalshop.net , which is the digital arm of Chandos' output, which also features some works by Priory amongst others. As far as i know Regent and Hyperion have yet to go digital. (And i doubt hyperion will)

 

The downside of the pay-as-you-play system, perhaps not one recognised where much of my fellow youths' music taste is shaped around Music TV channels and popular radio stations, is that you only download the tracks that you have an interest in. In the past i have found that some of the best music i have ever come across, in a wide variety of genres, is that which is tucked away in the middle of an album. This can lead to the shaping of musical tastes by factors around us, rather than our own minds being made up.

 

The same is true of sheet music. How many of us have brought a book, or even just a symphony by a French master, to find a movement in there which we did not know prior but find beauty in? If sheet music was avalible on a pay-as-you-go basis, how many people would just obtain, for example, the finale to Vierne I, without encountering the equally beautiful prelude? This wonderful opportunity would be lost, as would you pay £2 (to quote MM) for multiple pieces you had never heard of before? Though i suppose you could stream them from itunes first to see what you think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as CDs go it does seem that you can still make a business out of it if you can find a niche market. Hyperion have done this by seeking out little-known music, though a recent (and very expensive) copyright settlement will have made them very cautious about what they record in future - the outcome will have done early music fans no favours at all. Priory, as we all know, also function viably in a niche market.

 

For printed music the same is true. Stainer and Bell seem to do nicely enough, thank you, from publishing scholarly editions that only libraries and the seriously fanatical can afford. For sheet music, though, the market is generally difficult. Many years ago now OUP set about revising their Tudor Church Music series (for the second time) and expanding it, but pulled the plug on it because they could not compete with the internet. The sad fact is that most musicians couldn't care less whether the music in front of them is a good text or not. So long as it's performable, that's enough for them. It really is iniquitous that McKie's version of the Tudor anthem Rejoice in the Lord alway is still available for purchase. No wonder people are still naive enough to swallow the absurdity that it was written by John Redford.

 

Stainer & Bell, however, have an enlightened policy of selling offprints from the Early English Church Music series as pdf files with a licence to print 10 copies. There are quite a lot of fine pieces in reliable, practical editions - though I doubt there will be too many takers for those pieces published since EECM changed its editorial policy. How many choirs do you know who would be willing to learn to cope with the likes of this? Nevertheless this is a very laudable venture. It must cost them next to nothing and makes the most up-to-date scholarship readily available to everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Barry Williams

One of the tragedies is that modern editions are by no means accurate.

 

An example is a well known establishment that re-published a number of popular 'classic' anthems, riddled with errors because they permitted the editors to do their own proof reading. In one instance this resulted in consecutive octaves in an accompaniment that the composer of all people would never have written and in another case of a score incompatible with all others.

 

Perhaps we should recognise that church music is very much a minority interest nowadays.

 

The single anthem is extremely expensive, yet one sometimes has to buy heavy books, containing much unsuitable or duplicated music, just to get a single item. Then there is the music house in the North that refuses to sell copies in less than what they deem to be a 'set' without a red stamp over every front page that makes it illegible. The stamp reads: "Photocopying music is illegal". Pointing out that for some of us a 'full set' of copies is six, (i.e. two sopranos, one contralto, one tenor, one bass and a conductor,) merely brings the rejoinder that they deal with 'average choirs'. I dealt with the matter legally, pointing out that illegible music was unfit for purpose. But it was a needless hassle.

 

OUP are always most helpful about legal photocopies, as are Stainer and Bell. As for some for some of the others, well they ask for trouble and no doubt get it.

 

The EECM example given is just not practical these days. Much as I respect E H Fellowes' work, his Byrd editions are not the easiest, even with just one voice to a part.

 

Barry Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
An example is a well known establishment that re-published a number of popular 'classic' anthems, riddled with errors because they permitted the editors to do their own proof reading.

I remember one of mine that was printed riddled with errors precisely because I was not given it to proof read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Barry Williams
I remember one of mine that was printed riddled with errors precisely because I was not given it to proof read.

 

In that instance were you a composer or editor?

 

Barry Williams

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is also a website, www.theclassicalshop.net , which is the digital arm of Chandos' output, which also features some works by Priory amongst others. As far as i know Regent and Hyperion have yet to go digital. (And i doubt hyperion will)

I am sure I read somewhere that Hyperion are "on the case". Watch out for developments in 2008...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cynic
Editor. Sadly no one has ever been in a hurry to publish my compositions. I don't altogether blame them... <_<

 

If I had something I wanted brought out by a company that would take trouble to get it right, I would go to Animus (Adrian Self of Cartmel Priory). He has recently produced two excellent volumes of works by Richard Popplewell who went to them (at my suggestion) because other publishers had proved less than 100% in their promises. He and I are utterly delighted with the result. These scores are both handsome and accurate.

 

Once again, the question is, do you publish to make money? If you do, you've got to dumb-down! I think the current way is to spawn some worship-songs and, my advice, make the words as trite as possible because this immediately impresses the feeble-minded into thinking that you are sincere.

 

If you want to publish simply so that your little creations can see the light of day, so that some may get taken up by real musicians, take my advice (paragraph one, above). [And no, I don't have shares in Animus; not that it would do me much good if I did, they can barely make a profit.]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If I had something I wanted brought out by a company that would take trouble to get it right, I would go to Animus (Adrian Self of Cartmel Priory). He has recently produced two excellent volumes of works by Richard Popplewell who went to them (at my suggestion) because other publishers had proved less than 100% in their promises. He and I are utterly delighted with the result. These scores are both handsome and accurate.

 

Once again, the question is, do you publish to make money? If you do, you've got to dumb-down! I think the current way is to spawn some worship-songs and, my advice, make the words as trite as possible because this immediately impresses the feeble-minded into thinking that you are sincere.

 

If you want to publish simply so that your little creations can see the light of day, so that some may get taken up by real musicians, take my advice (paragraph one, above). [And no, I don't have shares in Animus; not that it would do me much good if I did, they can barely make a profit.]

 

Likewise Geoffrey Atkinson at fagus music.com

 

AJJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From another thread:

It has changed the way music recordings are sold, and virtually destroyed the CD market in a very short time. (That has very serious implications for classical music CD's, which are very heavily subsidised by pop music sales with huge production runs).

I'm by no means sure the effect on classical music CDs is a bad thing, either. There are far too many recordings of the Beethoven Symphonies and Vivaldi Four Seasons by huge orchestras fronted by jet-setting conductors (or these days, slightly smaller orchestras fronted by jet-setting conductors); if a fraction of that mony was more sensibly used, wonderful things could be done. Happily, cheaper recording means less time polishing the life out of performances, a wider variety of unknown, but good (and also not so good!) performers, and the impetus to change the bad habits of a couple of generations. This is why there is an increase in issues of "live" recordings, with certainly no loss in musical value - the extreme example of this is the places that are experimenting with selling CDs of the concert you've been to, to be collected as you leave.

 

Similarly, if money is not being wasted on competing new editions of the same music, then maybe better editions for less cost could come of it in the end.

 

The means of distribution is almost irrelevant - it has been shown that people will pay for downloads, and photocopied music. The loss of the requirement to hold stock is another saving, and means that, using electronic means, it should be possible to keep things in print instead of letting them become unavailable. What I do regret in this model, though, is the loss of the book or music shop in which one can browse - but perhaps there is a place for a revitalised library service to fulfil that role.

 

Neither the music industry nor the publishers have come to terms with this yet (the music industry is ahead, but is putting as much effort as possible into digital rights management at a level which is beginning to be counterproductive - it is now being seen that people will pay more to be shot of it).

 

Big changes, certainly, and the names we're familiar with may fall by the wayside. But someone will be along, not so much to pick up the pieces, but to bury them and start something new.

 

One change that is needed is to remove the attitude that anything once done should be a source of income for a hundred years. The huge extensions of copyright periods in the last century have done little to help artists, and are behind the worst behaviour of the big corporations - this is a major tool in their money-making arsenal. Copyright and patents should be reduced to, say, 25 years, limited by the death of the owner, which would restore the original intention of giving the owner a head start in the market place without stultifying further development. I won't see this change, but I'm sure it will come.

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
a wider variety of unknown, but good (and also not so good!) performers

Isn't this Naxos's particular niche - and the reason why they are able to issue their CDs at budget price?

 

One change that is needed is to remove the attitude that anything once done should be a source of income for a hundred years. The huge extensions of copyright periods in the last century have done little to help artists, and are behind the worst behaviour of the big corporations - this is a major tool in their money-making arsenal. Copyright and patents should be reduced to, say, 25 years, limited by the death of the owner, which would restore the original intention of giving the owner a head start in the market place without stultifying further development. I won't see this change, but I'm sure it will come.

I certainly think that, if a publisher allows a piece to go out of print, they should lose any copyrights that they hold. It is simply unfair that they should be able to continue to have a stranglehold on pieces that are no longer available. It is true that some publishers - or even maybe most these days - are willing to photocopy out-of-print pieces to order, but in my experience the standard of printing is poor. One item I ordered a little while back had print that was so faint that it was not easy to read. Perhaps I should have argued the "not fit for purpose" line, but arguing the toss would have meant dropping the item from the programme, which wasn't an option. Thank goodness the church was well lit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The means of distribution is almost irrelevant - it has been shown that people will pay for downloads, and photocopied music. The loss of the requirement to hold stock is another saving, and means that, using electronic means, it should be possible to keep things in print instead of letting them become unavailable. What I do regret in this model, though, is the loss of the book or music shop in which one can browse - but perhaps there is a place for a revitalised library service to fulfil that role.

 

Neither the music industry nor the publishers have come to terms with this yet (the music industry is ahead, but is putting as much effort as possible into digital rights management at a level which is beginning to be counterproductive - it is now being seen that people will pay more to be shot of it).

 

 

===========================

 

 

A thoughtful and informative reply from Paul.

 

I don't see a problem with a browsable set of samples on-line, or midi-files and even mp3 samples of the music. Coming to think about it, how many of us just browse and buy? Surely, in most instances, we hear something and decide to get hold of the sheet-music?

 

There's a lot to be said for the old ways, I suppose. I wonder what Polish monks do when they're not at mass?

 

<_<

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I certainly think that, if a publisher allows a piece to go out of print, they should lose any copyrights that they hold. It is simply unfair that they should be able to continue to have a stranglehold on pieces that are no longer available. It is true that some publishers - or even maybe most these days - are willing to photocopy out-of-print pieces to order, but in my experience the standard of printing is poor. One item I ordered a little while back had print that was so faint that it was not easy to read. Perhaps I should have argued the "not fit for purpose" line, but arguing the toss would have meant dropping the item from the programme, which wasn't an option. Thank goodness the church was well lit.

 

=======================

 

 

I suspect that this is at the heart of the problem, because when a work is added to a publisher's listings and publishing rights assigned, the entire exercise is about making money rather than making art available.

 

I could go along with the idea of dropping titles in the days when large printing presses and expensive paper were involved, but nowadays, almost everyone has (or knows someone who has) a vast technical resource at their fingertips, and are capable of DIY printing to a high standard. So it really comes down to intellectual property and getting a fair return for an investment.

 

As for intellectual property and copyright laws, I don't agree that a publisher (or designer etc) should have a shorter time in which they are protected from the free for all of the jungle. After all, there is more at stake than a few scraps of music paper, when someone like Frank Whittle got virtually nothing for inventing something as ground-breaking as the jet-engine. There is very big money at stake in all this, and music publishing is pond-life in the food-chain by comparison.

 

It really comes back to what I was saying about balancing availability against return on investment, and for anyone who cared to do a detailed financial analylsis of music-publishing, I'd bet my last pound, that the income from copyright is measured in pence rather than pounds more often than not. (One hears of creative artists receiving cheques for 12p!)

 

Assigning rights may be a little more profitable, but no-one is going to exactly snap-up the rights to a pretty trumpet-tune in a hurry, whatever its merits.

 

What I am saying in all this, is the enormous INCREASE in income for the publishers which could be possible using electronic-publishing.

 

If I could get 75p per download for a piece of music I wrote, and then sell only a thousand copies worldwide, it is better than selling nothing at all.

 

The problem we all now face (especially in organ music), is rather like the organ-builder who would reduce the availability of registers to the most popular, and sell only 16ft Bourdons and Large 8ft Open Diapasons, simply because most organs have these.

 

Doesn't this make the artistic and commercial point, because that is surely the beginning of the end?

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
===========================

A thoughtful and informative reply from Paul.

 

I don't see a problem with a browsable set of samples on-line, or midi-files and even mp3 samples of the music. Coming to think about it, how many of us just browse and buy? Surely, in most instances, we hear something and decide to get hold of the sheet-music?

 

There's a lot to be said for the old ways, I suppose. I wonder what Polish monks do when they're not at mass?

 

<_<

 

MM

 

I'll quote MM here, but reply to both him and Cynic -

 

In my little publishing adventure, I found that 2 things VERY much positively affected my sales:

1 - having mp3 demos/sample pages for most of the pieces

2 - accepting credit cards

 

Most of us won't buy something we've not seen unless we've HEARD it, like many of you I'd like to be able to both hear and see. Traditional publishers have yet (most all of them, anyway) to embrace the audio demo route (a shame, since it really would help them make the transition)

 

As Cynic states (albeit with a little hyperbole) publishing your own stuff is not something one does to make a load of money... you have to do some marketing and write easier stuff if you want to do that!. Sales figures of my own stuff bear out this concept - 2 of my works that I consider to be "meatier" or of more musical substance (Toccata-Flourish & Fugue on Wachet Auf and Toccata and Fugue in Gm) are consistently outsold by my hymn arrangements and Steve Best's suites/collections. There's just not as much market demand for serious concert music as there is easier service music.

 

I think that someday the <smart> traditional publishers will "get it" - folks like Editions Delatour are experimenting with lower-cost downloadable PDF editions and the like, and they seem to be doing a nice business so far. (and I have a special place in my heart for them, since they've recently released more music of Demessieux and Falcinelli)

 

Best,

 

- G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The disappointing things about digital downloads are:

 

-the quality is far inferior to the CD itself

-you don't get the booklet and presentation part of the deal. I know you can download the covers (and in some cases the pdfs of the booklet notes), but its not the same

 

Look at the work that goes in to MOST releases by Hyperion, Priory, Regent, Dephian etc, usually scholarly notes about the music and the performer. Scant booklets for popular music usually have very little else other than photos or lyrics.

 

I'm not against the ease of digital technology (I use my ipod for teaching all the time, now at the stage where I almost can't do without it!)

 

The Sibelius website offers another answer. You piggy back on the brand they've created, pop your compositions on, and wait. I've bought a few organ pieces off it (a couple of original pieces, and some transcriptions), but have then had to bind the music myself to make it usable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The disappointing things about digital downloads are:

 

-the quality is far inferior to the CD itself

-you don't get the booklet and presentation part of the deal. I know you can download the covers (and in some cases the pdfs of the booklet notes), but its not the same

 

Look at the work that goes in to MOST releases by Hyperion, Priory, Regent, Dephian etc, usually scholarly notes about the music and the performer. Scant booklets for popular music usually have very little else other than photos or lyrics.

 

I'm not against the ease of digital technology (I use my ipod for teaching all the time, now at the stage where I almost can't do without it!)

 

The Sibelius website offers another answer. You piggy back on the brand they've created, pop your compositions on, and wait. I've bought a few organ pieces off it (a couple of original pieces, and some transcriptions), but have then had to bind the music myself to make it usable.

 

 

========================

 

 

I quite agree. My CD collection also looks quite pretty, and I like the way I can play them in movinng vehicles etc.

 

The problem of music-publishing I also take on board, but it is possibly more a question of having some method of good quality binding. However, there are people who will print straight from a disc and produce proper printed results in book manuscript format.

 

It certainly isn't without its problems as desk-top publishing currently stands, BUT the real crunch is the option of complete availability or complete non-availability, as is the case now. I wouldn't like to hazard a guess at just how much music is "out of print" at any given time, but it must be an enormous list; some of it of outstanding quality.

 

The publishers are sitting on a potential treasure-chest and a long term investment, but the resource is being wasted when the plates are sitting around collecting dust and doing nothing.

 

Sometimes, I wish I was a music publisher.........I wouldn't half shake it up!

 

:o

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll quote MM here, but reply to both him and Cynic -

 

In my little publishing adventure, I found that 2 things VERY much positively affected my sales:

1 - having mp3 demos/sample pages for most of the pieces

2 - accepting credit cards

 

Most of us won't buy something we've not seen unless we've HEARD it, like many of you I'd like to be able to both hear and see. Traditional publishers have yet (most all of them, anyway) to embrace the audio demo route (a shame, since it really would help them make the transition)

 

As Cynic states (albeit with a little hyperbole) publishing your own stuff is not something one does to make a load of money... you have to do some marketing and write easier stuff if you want to do that!. Sales figures of my own stuff bear out this concept - 2 of my works that I consider to be "meatier" or of more musical substance (Toccata-Flourish & Fugue on Wachet Auf and Toccata and Fugue in Gm) are consistently outsold by my hymn arrangements and Steve Best's suites/collections. There's just not as much market demand for serious concert music as there is easier service music.

 

I think that someday the <smart> traditional publishers will "get it" - folks like Editions Delatour are experimenting with lower-cost downloadable PDF editions and the like, and they seem to be doing a nice business so far. (and I have a special place in my heart for them, since they've recently released more music of Demessieux and Falcinelli)

 

Best,

 

- G

 

 

========================

 

 

Well done for innovation and sound commercial sense.

 

At this rate, you'll soon become a tit-headed entrepreneur!

 

:o

 

 

This is exactly the sort of sideways thinking I have been talking about, and I wish you every success.

 

Now what you need to do is to go to Poland (with a native speaking friend) and dig around there, because apparently, the Russians crushed a lot of Polish art and music......something I wasn't aware of until recently. However, I see that Nigel Kennedy has been recording and performing some romantic Polish violin music, which even the Polish orchestra in Warsaw had never heard previously.

 

A bit of it was broadcast on Classic FM during the night last week, and I was astonished by the quality and beauty of it. This was played from the ONLY surviving copy in the world.

 

I just feel it in my bones that there is much there yet to be discovered.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cynic
========================

I quite agree. My CD collection also looks quite pretty, and I like the way I can play them in movinng vehicles etc.

 

The problem of music-publishing I also take on board, but it is possibly more a question of having some method of good quality binding. However, there are people who will print straight from a disc and produce proper printed results in book manuscript format.

 

It certainly isn't without its problems as desk-top publishing currently stands, BUT the real crunch is the option of complete availability or complete non-availability, as is the case now. I wouldn't like to hazard a guess at just how much music is "out of print" at any given time, but it must be an enormous list; some of it of outstanding quality.

 

The publishers are sitting on a potential treasure-chest and a long term investment, but the resource is being wasted when the plates are sitting around collecting dust and doing nothing.

 

Sometimes, I wish I was a music publisher.........I wouldn't half shake it up!

 

:o

 

MM

 

There is a difficulty there, MM.

 

True to my pseudonym, I think the reason some works will remain out of print is because they are uneconomic to stock.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you have impeccable taste. This is not a characteristic you share with too many poeple in the organ world, this instantly cuts down the number of possible purchasers. Many works which you rate highly are out of print for the simple reasons that they are (in many cases) very difficult to play or amazingly obscure. Both of these reasons also knock possible sales on the head.

 

Even if you suddenly found away of convincing people that your choices were absolutely first rate, how many copies would you expect to sell?

UMP have had this very problem for many, many years. (A relatively) Small number of French organists want to buy French music, therefore, UMP's only chance of staying in business through organ music sales is to rip off the few foreigners who are silly enough to be prepared to pay the equivalent of £3 per page, in the case of things like Messiaen's 'Le Banquet Celeste'. Note, UMP frequently don't give you staples either, to save production costs.

 

What we need are a few publishers who can arrnge to run copies off to special order all the time and not charge the earth for it. The trick then will be to know whom to approach for which copy!

 

 

 

[On another tack, loose sheets are more of an annoyance to page-turners than they are to me. If I were learning a new difficult score, it is a real help to be able to stack the pages in such a way that I really learn all the page-turns. Don't knock loose pages, they have their uses!]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
========================

Well done for innovation and sound commercial sense.

 

At this rate, you'll soon become a tit-headed entrepreneur!

 

:o

This is exactly the sort of sideways thinking I have been talking about, and I wish you every success.

 

Now what you need to do is to go to Poland (with a native speaking friend) and dig around there, because apparently, the Russians crushed a lot of Polish art and music......something I wasn't aware of until recently. However, I see that Nigel Kennedy has been recording and performing some romantic Polish violin music, which even the Polish orchestra in Warsaw had never heard previously.

 

A bit of it was broadcast on Classic FM during the night last week, and I was astonished by the quality and beauty of it. This was played from the ONLY surviving copy in the world.

 

I just feel it in my bones that there is much there yet to be discovered.

 

MM

 

:P

 

I doubt I'll get rich anytime soon....

 

The point is that I _do_ make something off of this (rather than it costing me to do it). The business model that I've adopted allows me to publish pretty much whatever I want and not risk financial loss. The caveat is that I don't have the advertising budget that a large publishing house has, so it is harder to get customers to my door or ever KNOW that I have music to sell. If larger publishers could be convinced to use a print on demand service in exchange for a smaller return, at least they would be making some money rather than having dusty single last copies that never get sold. I think someone would need to set up the process for them, though, since most publishers have no desire to invest in the equipment and personnel necessary to do this on their own.

 

As for the rare Polish/E European stuff.... bring it on!

 

I've been unsuccessfully trying to get copies of all of Feliks Nowowiejski's Organ symphonies, so far I've only managed to track down ONE (Sym.8)

 

Cheers,

 

- G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The caveat is that I don't have the advertising budget that a large publishing house has, so it is harder to get customers to my door or ever KNOW that I have music to sell. If larger publishers could be convinced to use a print on demand service in exchange for a smaller return, at least they would be making some money rather than having dusty single last copies that never get sold. I think someone would need to set up the process for them, though, since most publishers have no desire to invest in the equipment and personnel necessary to do this on their own.

 

 

===================

 

 

If business is all about pooling ideas and entering into business relationships, why shouldn't YOU be the person who convinces them and sets it up for them?

 

Just a thought!

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
===================

If business is all about pooling ideas and entering into business relationships, why shouldn't YOU be the person who convinces them and sets it up for them?

 

Just a thought!

 

MM

 

<chuckle>

 

Perhaps I _should_!

 

Maybe at some point I'll delve into the concept some more and try to get a publisher

or two to give the idea a try. I did at one point try to get a publisher interested

in having audio clips on their webpage - the gentleman I spoke with was intrigued, but

not enough to follow up on the idea with the chain of command up the ladder.

 

This one example surely supports what you've been saying all along - that traditional

publishers insular tendencies prevent them from exploring better models - they tend

to stick with "the way it's always been done".

 

Perhaps someday it will change... perhaps I can be a part of that process - we'll see!

:P

 

Best,

 

- G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
<chuckle>

 

Perhaps I _should_!

 

Maybe at some point I'll delve into the concept some more and try to get a publisher

or two to give the idea a try. I did at one point try to get a publisher interested

in having audio clips on their webpage - the gentleman I spoke with was intrigued, but

not enough to follow up on the idea with the chain of command up the ladder.

 

This one example surely supports what you've been saying all along - that traditional

publishers insular tendencies prevent them from exploring better models - they tend

to stick with "the way it's always been done".

 

Perhaps someday it will change... perhaps I can be a part of that process - we'll see!

:D

 

Best,

 

- G

 

 

=========================

 

 

I think the trick is to outsell them at their own game, publishing more obscure titles.

 

THAT would convince them, I suspect.

 

:P

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
=========================

I think the trick is to outsell them at their own game, publishing more obscure titles.

 

THAT would convince them, I suspect.

 

:P

 

MM

 

Directly relevant to that comment is an interesting (if repetitive) book called 'The Long Tail*'. The idea is simple; Retail space is expensive. Most conventional retailers can only profitably stock the few 'hit' items in their particular genre. This forms the high peak of a curve. There will be less popular items that tail off after this curve to infinity, but it would not be possible for shops to stock these items; they would sell too slowly.

 

A typical internet venture (such as itunes) can have a very complete back-catalogue at a vanishingly small real cost (In the case of itunes, simply datacentre costs). Every extra 10,000 tracks added to Itunes has a big impact on the bottom line. Believe it or not, somebody, somewhere wants the RnB version of 'God be in my Head'(!). Just one purchase justifies its addition to the database. So extend the 'long tail' out to infinity, and you start making lots of money. This is the reason why there is a lot of money to be made in online publishing. This is why we can look forward to more choice, not less. This is why publishers who refuse to adapt are doomed.

 

*search amazon books for 'the long tail'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Directly relevant to that comment is an interesting (if repetitive) book called 'The Long Tail*'. The idea is simple; Retail space is expensive. Most conventional retailers can only profitably stock the few 'hit' items in their particular genre. This forms the high peak of a curve. There will be less popular items that tail off after this curve to infinity, but it would not be possible for shops to stock these items; they would sell too slowly.

 

A typical internet venture (such as itunes) can have a very complete back-catalogue at a vanishingly small real cost (In the case of itunes, simply datacentre costs). Every extra 10,000 tracks added to Itunes has a big impact on the bottom line. Believe it or not, somebody, somewhere wants the RnB version of 'God be in my Head'(!). Just one purchase justifies its addition to the database. So extend the 'long tail' out to infinity, and you start making lots of money. This is the reason why there is a lot of money to be made in online publishing. This is why we can look forward to more choice, not less. This is why publishers who refuse to adapt are doomed.

 

*search amazon books for 'the long tail'

 

 

================

 

 

Absolutely spot-on!

 

Thanks.

 

MM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...