What the traditional publication industry has not done as well is support the artists who craft the music. Composers and arrangers make a fraction of the retail price of each octavo sold with more than 90% of all sales dollars going to the company. Without one or more of a number of proverbial dominoes falling their way, composers have a difficult time breaking into the mainstream. Even when they do, composers generally don’t own the rights to their own music, and are at the mercy of the publicity strategy of the company for their growth in the industry.
My friend and colleague, Dr. Kurt Knecht founded MusicSpoke Inc. with the mission to build community between composers and the conductors who program their music. At MusicSpoke, the role of the ‘company’ is reversed from the traditional publishing model.
“We are a marketplace committed to musicians. We don’t publish pieces of music. We find gifted composers that we believe in and give them the tools and freedom to promote themselves.” – MusicSpoke website
This approach affords choral conductors with many benefits not possible through traditional publishers. The MusicSpoke website offers full scores for perusal (digitally), and immediate ordering with PDF download for the number of scores licensed. No waiting on backordered scores, and no guessing what happens after page three (where most publisher examples stop). Each title also includes a full recording, which allows for passive research as you complete other activities if you wish.
Perhaps the biggest feather in their cap is that MusicSpoke, by its nature, is supporting living composers. Programming and performing music of Mozart and Bach is important for the development of any choir, and I don’t intend to diminish that, but we are in the midst of what I believe is a choral renaissance, and our living composers are contributing beautiful, thoughtful, artistic additions to our repertoire which deserve to be heard; not to mention that they actually benefit financially when we purchase their music. If they have enough money to eat, they might continue writing beautiful music for us all to hear and perform, which is quite a deal for us. Further, these composers are eager to have their music performed, and would love to hear from you with questions, or maybe even to set up a visit or a Skype session to work with your choir. Maybe you’ll love the experience so much that you’ll commission a new piece just for your choir that we all then get to benefit from. Isn’t that a beautiful thought?
If you haven’t checked them out yet, spend some time at www.musicspoke.com, and let me know what you program. I know they would love to hear from you!