Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Stand and Deliver!

Like Health Care systems everywhere, New Music suffers from a poor delivery system. The route from composer to performer to listener is often capricious, improvised, and instable, and more often a product of repertorial lethargy and personal relationships than an open market in matching musical interests.  

The web ought to be a perfect route for moving our scores to performers and attracting listeners to performances, but the low-level of web activity for new music — I keep track of 35 or 40 new music oriented blogs via bloglines and sometimes several days will pass without new messages — suggests that the new music community has a far-from-optimal approach to the web as a resource.   (It is surprising to me that  the largest traditional music publishers  and the license-collecting agencies — who have an immediate financial interest in making their wares public — do such a very bad job of it;  title searches at these sites are slow and miserable, and I'm someone who actually enjoys doing library research.) 

Here is one small proposal to help remedy this situation:  How about a blog or site dedicated to publicly registring new scores?  With probably several thousand active "serious" composers in the US alone, if only a couple hundred were to join such a registry, announcing each of their new title immediately upon composition, detailing and cross-indexing the resources required and how to obtain performance materials, one would presumably have a web page with many daily updates, thus both offering a useful way of matching performers with new scores and better mirroring the liveliness of our community.



Lisa Hirsch said...

I'm just catching up with this particular posting, but....I suggested to a different composer this morning in email that there is a big opening for some kind of composers' publishing collective, one that would make scores available on a print-on-demand basis, collect royalties, and hire a publicist to promote its members' music. Your idea is part of that process.

Daniel Wolf said...


There are a number of collectives like that -- Frog Peak Music, Thurmchen Verlag, my own Material Press. In the case of MP and most Frog Peak composers, the composers keep all of their license fees, not assigning the standard 50% to the publisher.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thank you! I have pointed the composer I was corresponding with to this posting.