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Scrolling Score Videos

Research indicates that video scores are a valuable way to present works to prospective performers, researchers and students. Composers Edition has teamed up with member composer Ian Stephens to offer a scrolling score video publishing service, giving members the opportunity to showcase their works with high definition video of scores, professionally presented with audio from a performance. These will be promoted on the Composers Edition Youtube channel and will also be showcased via the Composers Edition news channels including the mailing list, Facebook and Twitter. Members will also be able to freely share the video via their own social media accounts and on other websites of their choosing.

We recommend the use of live or studio recordings, rather than software-generated renderings from scores. Responsibility for clearing permission to use recordings lies with the member and we will require written assurance/evidence that this is the case.

Fees: £30 per work + £1 per minute. Discounts available on four or more pieces.

If you’re interested in discussing the service with Ian, please email him at [email protected]

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CE Member Commissioning Survey

As outlined in Let’s Talk about Commissioining, I’m interested in shining a light on how works come to be initially performed. How does it really work? What and who’s interests are in play? How does it unfold, from initial spark to completion (and beyond) and how are those interests satisfied and built on?

I’d like to get the views of as many members as possible. We can talk via audio or video chat – please email me to arrange a time; or if you prefer you can complete the survey below.

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Let’s talk about commissioning…

Dear All,

With the new decade ushered in, the new website running nicely and the books off to the accountants for the taxman’s delectation I’m in reflective mood!

February 1st marks our seventh year of trading and it’s interesting to note what’s changed and what hasn’t. At its core CE is doing what it always has, providing a professional publishing platform for dedicated, experienced composers. We may have grown some six-fold in membership, our reputation spread across the world, and the ways in which we operate developed considerably, but it feels just the same in spirit!

The trick it seems to me, if there is one, is simply to stick around; keeping on doing what we do to the best of our ability, striving always to develop. Of course, it helps when you’re involved in something as inspirational as the music and composers we serve. I’ve been struck time-and-again by the sheer quality and distinctive character of what each of you produce, the manifold beauties of form and detail, the care and integrity with which you apply your crafts, and the determination with which you keep driving forward.

So what’s to come for the next seven years? How do we best serve this music? Well, in some respects I propose that CE continues with its core manner of operation much as it has for the last seven years – lean and healthy! On the other, I’m keen to develop deeper relationships, with composers, traders, performers and commissioners of new music. It is the last of these where I see particular potential for radical development. Commissioning can often seem the toughest of activities to engage in, fraught with questions of propriety, politics and expectation (from both sides!). It is the seemingly dark art upon which the reputation of the worlds most famous and hitherto successful publishers has relied. On the other hand I reckon there are many musicians, organisations and individuals who might be commission, but don’t currently, or very rarely.

I’m interested in shining a light on commissioning. How does it really work? What and who’s interests are in play? How does it unfold, from initial spark to completion (and beyond) and how are those interests satisfied and built on? I propose a period of consultation as part of which I’d like to talk with as many of you as possible. What is your experience of commissioning? What has worked for you? What hasn’t? I realise that this is a potentially sensitive area. Each of you has relationships with commissioners which you have developed, sometimes over many years and which you may naturally want to protect. Recognising their value to you, I will treat any details you provide with the utmost respect and privacy. What I aiming for, in return for candid conversation, is the ability to enhance the future activities of Composers Edition such that they can both enhance your existing relationships with your commissioners and open doors to new ones.

Happy to dive straight in? Email me.

Let’s get talking!

Dan Goren
Director
Composers Edition

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New Website & US Printing

Dear All,

As 2019 draws to a close we usher in a new decade with two big developments here at Composers Edition.

The first is the launch of our brand new website. After nearly 8 years of service (you can count the age of websites much like cats, 1 website year = about 12 human years!) we say farewell to the old website and welcome the bright youngster. Finally completed after some 16 months development we’ve got there just in time for the Christmas break!

Bringing all of our 6000+ products plus all the purchase histories from the old website we’re now running on a completely new e-commerce platform which works properly on all contemporary devices, will improve our search engine ranking and looks great to boot! But this is only the start of a new phase in which we’ll be able to take advantage of technical developments to create more engaging visits for both customers and members. Thank you to everyone who’s got round to reviewing their works and provided initial feedback.  And a big thanks to Sam for all his work on the catalogue. If you haven’t done so, you can still check out your profile and works by heading over to the website now. Please do note the new web addresses for your profile pages in the format: https://composersedition.com/discover/composers/membername/ ( https://composersedition.com/membername/ also works now, forwarding to the former! ).  Works links from the old site also continue to work, so no need to update those on your own websites.

Secondly, last week I paid a first and very productive visit to Los Angeles. The trip afforded me the great pleasure of meeting two of our US composers, Jeffrey Holmes and soon to-be-launched Jack Van Zandt, to learn more about the West Coast contemporary music scene and to have two crucial business meetings.

The first meeting was with the director of the specialist music printers Black Ribbon and I’m very excited too announce that they will soon start producing scores and parts for the US and Far East customers.  Black Ribbon have been in business for about 12 years, producing sheet music for publishers large and small as well as the film industry. Their main hub is in Colorado and they’re looking to expand into the East Coast. They feel a great fit for us, being a lean business much like our own! It’s been a bugbear for sometime that our UK-produced orders are slow and expensive to ship to what is one of our largest markets. Black Ribbon are promising to dispatch smaller orders within 24 hours, even for new works, which will be absolutely super for us. This effectively takes the breaks off our efforts to develop relationships with US buyers and we’ll be taking that forward next year. The second meeting was with our main US buyer, the distributor Theodore Front Musical Literature. They’ve been ordering from us since my first meeting with Director Christine Clark at Frankfurt Musikmesse 2017. This new meeting helped cement our growing trade relationship and with US production in place (they already work closely with Black Ribbon) the stage is set for greater expansion of our relationship over the coming months and years.

I know many of you already have relationships with US performers, composers and institutions, and urge you to seize the opportunity these new and extended relationships with artists and key industry operators affords us all.

It only remains to wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.  I’ll be here until Friday afternoon and will keep an eye on things over the holidays, returning to full duty on Monday 6 January.

Best wishes one and all,

Dan Goren
Director
Composers Edition

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Commissioning – What CE can do to help

Commissioning is of course the lifeblood of any composers creative and professional life. Traditionally, one of the key activities of music publishers have (or at least thought to have!) undertaken is actively helping to secure commissions for their composers. I suspect the reality is that, for a variety of reasons, this happens relatively seldomly and only for a very few composers at the top of their lists. In fact I rather suspect that publishers are too often seen as counter-productive in this area – adding costs and taking copyright whilst not necessarily adding sufficient value. Put it this way; how many soloists, chamber groups, choirs or festivals are going to approach a publisher about commissioning?

So it’s left to composers and in some cases agents to work out the commissioning conundrum. I think the key question here is what are commissioners looking for? Confidence is really important. If someone is going to commission a composer they haven’t worked with before, they want to be confident that the composer can deliver what their backers and audience want, perhaps something striking, perhaps something that fits with certain preconceptions. They also want to get something they can enjoy the challenge of learning and performing, and to do both the work and the composer artistic justice. Perhaps above all they want to be involved in something they can feel proud of.

Beyond finding a good match, there are many the practical considerations.  Unless a seasoned commissioner, I think many musicians, ensembles, festivals and community groups may find commissioning a somewhat daunting prospect. How much will it cost? How can it be funded? What happens after the work has been performed? What if something goes wrong?

What can and might Composers Edition do to help?

Far from creating obstacles to commissioning, I have a vision of Composers Edition as an enabler and supporter of this vital process.  Firstly, there are numerous ways in which Composers Edition already helps the process:

  • Scores and parts quickly produced in printed and digital editions.  
  • Offering publicity, including and Q&A articles (see last month’s email).
  • Special Editions : We’ve produced specially liveried materials which include cover images and text which celebrate the commission and/or performance.
  • Ensuring a better future for the work through publication and promotion through our network of buyers
  • Advocacy and Advice, e.g. via funding application support

I believe that there is more Composers Edition can do and achieve.  My vision for Composers Edition involves meeting those needs above.  To be a place where musicians can come with confidence – to be supported in their commissioning adventures.  To do this the best way we can we’ll need your input; your ideas and the benefit of your experience (both as commissionees and commissioners as I know many of you have been). So please get your thinking caps on. I’ll leave you to muse on this and will email in a couple of days via the private members Google group and will try to structure things so that you can contribute easily.

Dan Goren
Director
Composers Edition

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Exclusive ISM membership offer for CE Members

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is delighted to offer CE members an exclusive gift of 20% off ISM full membership when you join as a new member.

The ISM is the UK’s professional body for musicians with over 9,000 members across the UK including hundreds of composers and songwriters. We support and empower members with a unique set of professional services, including legal advice and representation from our in-house legal team, an essential insurance package worth at least £235 a year, expert advice, an unpaid fees recovery service, listings and promotion, award-winning professional development, discounts and more.

Join the ISM as a full member using the promo code CECLUB to receive 20% off ISM full membership, at just £144.80 for the first year, instead of £181.

Graduated with your first music degree within the last ten years? You can take advantage of our graduate discount, at just £50 a year (over 70% off).

Join online, over the phone (020 7221 3499) or by email: [email protected]

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Sale & Hire – Pricing & Remittances

Sale Pricing

Pricing for the sale of scores and parts is normally set by Composers Edition and designed to offer excellent value to our customers whilst asserting value and generating income for our members. We calculate around standard rates based on cost of production, then make value-based adjustments (e.g. a short orchestral score should attract a hirer price than a piano work bound in a book of the same size and number of pages). If you would like to discuss the price of your works please do get in touch

Hire Pricing

For larger works (generally all non-choral works of more 10 parts or more) Composers Edition negotiates hire-fees, striking a balance between value for customers and returns to members. This will take into account such factors as number of performances, duration of hire, nature of the work and the organisation hiring. Again we are happy to discuss pricing with you.

Remittances

Composers Edition uses the sale price as a baseline for hire charges, but can usually negotiated up significantly. The remittances to members from sale and hire are as follows:

Printed Works Sale : 20% of sale price
Printed Works Hire : 20% of standard sale price + 50% of remainder should a greater hire fee be negotiated

Digital Works Sale : 30% of sale price
Digital Works Hire : 30% of standard sale price + 50% of remainder should a greater hire fee be negotiated

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Professional Representation & Support

There’s no two ways about it – being a professional composer today is tough. It requires faith, determination and a dizzying range of soft and hard skills. Even when you delegate work out you need to have your eye on everything and to boot you probably do other work as well.

Fully utilised the other parts of your Composers Edition membership can alleviate some of the workload, whether it’s producing printed editions, dealing with sales, typesetting, website maintenance or making the most of the limelight when your work is performed and celebrated. What we also stand ready to do is support you with our reputation, putting our experience to work, helping you find the best way forward.

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of speaking as your professional representative. You might find you’re knocking on a door and not getting a response. We’ve found that simply writing as one business to another can open doors and get communication flowing.

We can help too when it comes to securing commissions or major performances. Whether it’s writing in support of funding applications or you being able to offer up the advantages of working with a CE composers such as publicity and guaranteed publication and distribution of the work through our network of buyers.

On other occasions it’s simply advice you need or someone knowledgeable to bounce ideas off. Dan Goren has been working in world of music for over 20 years and while he makes no claims to being an expert, a little knowledge has rubbed off along the way! What’s more, discussions often lead to us expanding what we find we can offer you and your fellow members.

At the end of the day Composers Edition’s success is built on helping composers make the most of the opportunities out there. Helping you helps us!

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Professional Website Service

A professional website is an important way of presenting yourself and your work to performers, programmers, commissioners and enthusiasts. With over 20 years experience in website design, editing, coding, hosting and search engine optimisation, we can offer a comprehensive first-class service to help you with your online profile.

Bespoke website design

It’s important for your website to make the right impact, both as an iteration of you and your practice and in technical terms. We work closely with composers to create a unique design that works on all platforms

Composer-tailored software

Whether it’s a portfolio of works, presenting recordings or integrating streamed media you’ll need the right technology at hand. Composers Edition has developed a number of unique facilities to help manage all your data and present it in user and search-engine friendly formats.

Hosting & domain names

We’ve been hosting websites for years and can offer a complete range of services. Our managed hosting packages come with email accounts, as much storage as you need, backups and traffic data plus software and security management. We can also handle the registration of domain names. We can take care of it all for you.

Great technology, built to last

We build all our websites with the extraordinary WordPress content management system. Powering some 60 million websites worldwide it facilitates easy editing and comes with a dizzying array of add-on features, frequent updates to combat the latest security threats and makes the best web technology available for us to use. Importantly it separates the content (text, images, media) out from the design which means that you can upgrade or completely replace the design without having to enter your data.

Content updating service or DIY – it’s up to you

We can update your website for you, keeping visitors up to date with latest news, new works, recordings and media, all at decent rates. Most composers choose this option, but if you really want to edit your site yourself, you can – we’ll teach you the basics and help out if you get stuck. Or you can do some edits and leave others to us, whatever works best for you!

Struggling with and existing website?

Perhaps you’re basically happy with your current website but have an issue that you need help with? We may be able to fix or upgrade what you have. Or maybe you just don’t have the time to manage it. We’ll happily take a look and see if we can take care of it for you.

Whatever you needs, please do get in touch and talk it through

Have a browse through some of our recent work:

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Publishing via the nkoda app

Aimed at professional musicians, educators and students nkoda is the leading app for accessing, annotating and sharing sheet music. It provides access to over 30 million pages of sheet music – everything from solo works to full orchestral sets – including works from nearly all the major publishing houses and many smaller publishers too, all for a monthly subscription.

All use is tracked, with publishers getting full reports and a percentage of the revenue, based on the amount of time each score or part is viewed. nkoda are also introducing a paid print feature. The team behind it are very energetic and offer regular opportunities to promote our repertoire and composers. It also means that if you sign up for a subscription yourself you can carry around your works with you.

As a Composers Edition member you can put all your works on nkoda (or leave some out if necessary) without charge. All you need to do is let us know which scores and parts you wish to make available. You can also get an nkoda app subscription for a special rate of £6 per month instead of £9.

How much do I get paid for making my works available on nkoda?

Views of each score and part via the app are fully tracked by nkoda and remittances paid on a per-second basis. The rate is determined by nkoda subscription income. Composers Edition then pays the usual 30% digital remittance on what it receives from nkoda and this is calculated on an annual basis.

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Typesetting

Composers Edition offers typesetting services to members, this includes:

 *   Typesetting, proofreading and editing of scores and parts prior to publication;
 *   Copying of handwritten or other non-digital formats;
 *   Parts extraction/formatting from scores that have already been typeset;
 *   Scanning/digitisation of works where only a hardcopy is available.

The work is undertaken by CE Manager Sam Roberts who offers a range of other services, such as midi conversion of scores or other audio, editing for audio excerpts or sample recordings and other mixing/mastering based services.

Although most work is undertaken in Sibelius and Logic X, Sam is able to accept files in Finale and Dorico format. Other work is undertaken in Melodyne, Wavelab, Adobe software and others.

Pricing is calculated on a job by job basis, depending on the length, complexity and instrumentation of each work.

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ISMN Registration & Legal Deposit

The Composers Edition Publication Registration Service (CEPRS) is a facility open to all Composers Edition members who wish to register their works in the UK and incorporates two operations, streamlined to save members time and expense.

1. ISMN registration

What are ISMNs?

  • International Standard Music Numbers are the music equivalent of ISBNs for books, identifying individual publications
  • Issued in the UK by the Music Publishers Association
  • The primary system by which retailers and distributors identity and reference musicpublications.
  • ISMNs help retailers and ultimately shoppers find and purchase publications as itemscan be registered with wholesalers

Why is Composers Edition getting involved in the issuing of ISMNs?

Each composer may purchase and assign their own ISMNs. However we have identified significant benefits from doing this collectively through Composers Edition

  • Bought in bulk ISMNS they are far cheaper. See rates
  • In dealing as a single point of contact with the MPA, Composers Edition greatlysimplifies the process of registration
  • Composers Edition is increasingly selling to retailers and distributors. ISMNs helpmake CE and its catalogue, and therefore its members works, more visible in the market place.
  • All publications require the ISMNS to be printed on the back cover using a barcode. CE can undertake updating covers.

2. Legal Deposit

Legal Deposit is the process by which the British Library and the 5 other UK & Ireland legal deposit libraries (Oxford Bodleian, Cambridge University, National Library of Scotland, Trinity College Dublin and the National Library of Wales) gather and catalogue new publications. There is a statutory obligation to deposit at least one copy of every UK publication, free of charge, at the legal deposit libraries. Requests for legal deposit are triggered by the issue of an ISMN (or ISBN) Requests also appear to be triggered by other events such as BBC broadcasts. The British Library handle their own legal deposits while The Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries (ALDL) handle the rest.

Why is Composers Edition getting involved in supplying to the legal deposit libraries?

Since early 2016 The Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries (ALDL) have been sending requests for works to Composers Edition. We have been forwarding these requests to the composers in question. The costs of providing 6 copies (to two addresses) is considerable. By streamlining the operation and acting on composers’ behalves Composers Edition can hugely reduce these costs.

Benefits of legal deposit include:

  • preservation for the benefit of future generations and heritage
  • record in online catalogues for future research
  • books and new serial titles are listed in the British National Bibliography (BNB),which is used by librarians and the book trade for stock selection

Two services bought together

Given that ISBN registration triggers legal deposit requests, the comparatively small cost of registering ISMNs and their benefits it makes sense to undertake both operations at once. Composers Edition will do this in batches, maximising savings in administration and delivery, which we can pass on to members.

3. How it works

We’ve designed the service to make it as simple as possible to register works. To elect to have works submitted to CEPRS.

  1. Email Sam Roberts with a list of works which you wish to register
  2. We will issue an invoice for the works to be submitted and process payment via GoCardless or Paypal
  3. On settlement of the invoice, we will undertake all necessary work : ISMN registration, barcoding products, processing of deliveries to the British Library and ALDL
  4. On completion we will issue a confirmation of ISMN registration and legal deposit.

4. Costs

The cost per item will be just 60% of the regular retail price and also includes free delivery to both the ALDL and the British Library, saving to members of between £11 and £55 on each work.

e.g.1 : six copies of 24 page A4 portrait score = £21.56 (regular members’ price £36.15 inc delivery)
e.g.2 : six copies of 60 page A3 score = £43.16 (regular members’ price £64.95 inc delivery)

5. Notes

  • Any updates to scores or parts formally require a new ISMN for the work in question.
  • Scores and sets of parts count as different publications with regard to ISMNregistration. We are only proposing that members register scores, but are happy to also register sets of parts
  • Composers Edition’s formal position with regard to ISMNs is that of registrant. Issuing of ISMNs bears no relationship to copyright or publishing rights
  • Composers Edition formal position with regard to members’ works is that of distributor; a service provider through which members publish, issue or distribute copies of works to the public at an agreed cost.Any Questions?Email me!
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News Publishing

Maintaining a public profile is vital for attracting both performers of existing repertoire and commissions for new works. Doing so can be tough for independent composers which is why Composers Edition offers a free news publishing service as part of your membership. Our strategy focusses on ongoing awareness-raising and providing publicity and support to musicians and organisations who work with our composers. This is then backed-up by our friendly, speedy personal service.

What’s newsworthy?

News is about creating narrative, about you, your work and those you work with, be performers, a record label, festival or collaborator. As soon as a composing project gets off the ground, there’s news which may be shared: What’s the composition about? What form will it take? Who will performing? What’s the occasion? We’ll help create and share that initial news for you. As the big moment approaches whether it’s a premiere, significant new production or recording release, it’s a great time to be shouting about it again, drumming up interest and concert ticket sales. Once the big day is over there’s a work to then sell, to try and get more performances for. We can be using the publication of the score (and parts) together with any feedback from players or audience plus media such as recordings or photos.

And it doesn’t have to be a big event. Every performance deserves noting as do other relevant happenings – a new teaching post, an award, inclusion of a track on a CD and so on. A regular trickle of small news items is arguably more effective than a single big splash. So however seemingly minor or uncertain a project may be it’s worth talking about.

What your Composers Edition membership offers:

  • Full news editing service based on information you supply
  • Original content such as interviews and Q&A articles with you, performers and/or promotors of your work
  • Publishing on our online shop and news website
  • Promotion through our CE Club email list – published monthly
  • Promotion through social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
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Making More of Your Bigger News

A Premiere of a major new work is of course a big moment for composers.  Months, sometimes years of preparation, organisation, collaboration and creative hard work coming to a head on a single night. The same goes for a major recording such as a portrait album. It is around these moments that you can create the greatest buzz around you and your work, giving you a better chance of generating further performances and new connections which can lead to more commissions. It is also clear from our data around our news output that our CE club members and social media followers are keen to learn about and celebrate these moments.

We want to do what we can to help with this which is why we’ve come up with a simple 3-part publicity framework for you to consider using for your next major event, as follows:

1. Announcement

An initial post announcing the commission at the time that it is agreed.  Would be good to include:
a) A statement from you the composer about your vision and hopes for the work/project
b) A statement form the commissioner and/or (lead) performer

2. Pre-Premiere/Release News

News of the performance. This may also include a Q & A or comments from the lead performer and/or you. A link to the score if available via Composers Edition

3. Post-Premiere/Release News

Documentation of the performance and/or announcement of the work being available through CE. May include photos of the performance or the composer with the performers post-performance, plus reviews and audience feedback that you or the performers have received.

Just one further note: I realise that much can be at stake with big eventsand they don’t always go as planned (postponements, cancellations etc do happen!). I urge you to still make as much of these happenings as early as possible – there really isn’t any such thing as bad publicity!

Please do let Késia or me know about any plans.

Dan Goren
Director
Composers Edition

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Making the Most of CE News & Social Media

We’ve been reviewing our news and social media output. Looking at what works and what doesn’t, for us, for other publishers and more broadly.  We’ve already seen benefits from increasing our presence and are looking at how to improve it further. As part of the we’d like to encourage CE members to do more as we can see the difference it makes when you do!  Some of you are dab hands at this, others never touch it; most fall somewhere in between, or make occasional forays into it all.  We’d like to share a few thoughts and suggestions with you based on our observations.

1. Live goings on are key: Social media users tend to respond more to happenings. Your friends and fellow artists who dig what you do but can’t make it to a concert will want to support you. If you’re at a concert featuring your music, or that of another CE members, letting people know is a great way to draw positive attention.

2. Images are powerful: Take that concert – a happy photo of you and the performers (CE score in hand!) is likely to attract more interactions than just some text. If you’ve just completed a piece a snapshot of you and or a page from the score is great to post.

3. Personal is good: Even when it’s about a score or recording, people are essentially supporting other people – those they already know or would like to know.

4. Show some love: do repost and tag – it’s worth stopping to think who might be interested to hear a specific piece of news: sponsors, funders, venues, musicians.

5. Not on social media, or would like us to publish posts about you? We can be creating original posts for you, so do send us your news and photos.

If you’ve got anything you’d like to share or discuss including important events for which we can create a special feature article, please contact CE News and Social Media Manager Késia Decoté.

Dan Goren
Director
Composers Edition

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CE, Industry & the Market


Dear All,

Last week I attended the Cheltenham Music Festival ‘Composium’ Day. Although perhaps not the best thought-through event it did provide a good chance to meet both new and familiar faces. It also provided some provocative food for thought, some of which I’d like to share with you. I’d be very happy to hear your thoughts on the matters raised.

A key issue (re-)raised for me is whether what we are involved is usefully thought of as an industry. It’s an often used designation but one which I suspect is little thought about. It’s certainly something I’ve always felt somewhat uncomfortable with. I suppose use of the word is usually used to denote a place in the ‘market economy’, the values of which those creating and supporting the creation of art culture have been cajoled into using in earnest since at least the 1980s.

When initially conceiving of Composers Edition, having previously worked at the public and charitably-funded British Music Information Centre, I was keen to create something capable of standing on its own two legs, free from the constrictions of funding trends dictated by the often composite and generalised yet specific values of funders. The alternative was to consciously operate in the market place, indeed to create a new market stall which worked to the benefit of contemporary compositions and composers (also its first and still most important customers!). Over the years I’ve strived to always think afresh about how Composers Edition does and may operate to develop its benefits to composers and, increasingly, performers. Some efforts have yielded better results than others but all bring new insights and along the way I’ve come into contact with a lot of businesses and organisations, some of which are also there for benefit composers and performers (in principle at least!). 

So, as the Composers Edition ‘business’ grows and connects with these other organisations (both one-to-one and in groups via societies, trade-fairs and conferences and alike) is it becoming (and part of) industry? Well, in the sense of industry as production we can certainly point to the technology we and our partners use. Indeed, Composers Edition’s use of software, communications, data management and analysis is central to it existence, as is the technology behind the printing and distribution of scores, parts and books. We adopt and adapt new technology all the time to improve our presence in the world in the most efficient way possible. All very industrious! However WHAT we deliver, our products, your compositions, are about as far from efficient, standardised ‘industrial’ products as you might get. Indeed, they are arguably anti-industrial in their striving towards difference, idiosyncrasy and individuality of character and expression. Beyond that, there is of course the very un-industrial matter of people connecting with each other, personally, through ideas and common values, through artworks, community and activity.

I think there’s often an easy conflation of ‘market’ with ‘industry’ which affords us no benefits and which is supported by the values of the technology itself. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is in communications technology. Take social media in which the means of communication is at the same time highly restrictive and regulated (by industrial means). Here, we are channelled into producing the ‘content’ in inflexible indenti-kit parcels. We are given to think that so long as we keep sharing and commenting on each others missives that we are communicating well, but social media is but an advertising space. A potentially very useful one, but one that’s nearly always given more credence than it’s due. It really is only a starting point, for a conversation, an encounter, a new experience.

One of the missed opportunities for the Cheltenham Composium was that, as is often the case, it found us ourselves talking to ourselves, instead of outwards (in this case to the Cheltenham Festival audience and the good burghers of that spa town). In my endeavour to set up the Sounds Like Now publication my principal aim was to open up the contemporary music marketplace to a wider audience, by helping those involved to celebrate what they do in an outward-facing manner (The focus for these efforts were instead invested in the creation of CE Club and the news output which I’m very happy to see being both well received and leading to interest in and sales of CE works). If we are to attract more visitors to our marketplace then we might do well to look at how to be more open. Perhaps we should turn things around and take our stall to other markets instead of just building one where we are (and expect people to come to us). Whilst at Cheltenham I got chatting with someone who produces the Chamber Music Plus concert listings booklets. These contain several hundred listings of music society concerts across a region of the UK (one ‘Central’ one ‘Northern’). Now I know as well any the bastions of conservatism many of these societies represent(!) but what I also see there are communities who, in the broader context are our (“stuffy?!”) cousins and who, given a few not inconsiderable hurdles be cleared, could become closer friends. Of course you could look in other directions too (e.g. towards other contemporary art form cultures and their communities). Alongside the champions of new music to whom all composers are indebted for their dedication, there are, I suspect many potential performer friends to be made, both for you as individual composers and Composers Edition.

So there you have it, a few crumbs for the cranium!  If you feel like responding you can do so to the whole membership or just to me privately.

Dan Goren
Director
Composers Edition

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Hire Fees & CE Books

Hire Fees

Last month I wrote about us joining the Zinfonia music publisher portal, used by major orchestras and ensembles across the world to hire scores and parts.  Together with a significant increase in hire over recent months we’ve been addressing the issue of hire fees which as some of you will know is something of a dark art, with prices taking a range of factors into account including number of performances, length of hire, broadcast and educational discounts.  Complicated is it may be, I’d like to take this opportunity to make the position with regard to CE members absolutely clear.  This is how it works:

  • We quote the hirer a standard fee according to whether it is for ensemble (less than 10 players), large ensemble (10+) or orchestral, based on the work’s duration, adjusted for broadcast, delivery type (printed / digital) and use (pro / educational)
  • We pay the following remittances:
    Print : 20% of the catalogue price + 50% of the remainder
    Digital : 30% of the catalogue price + 50% of the remainder.
    For example, a set of printed parts which would normally sell for 100GBP but is hired at 200GBP will mean a remittance to the CE member of £70 (£20 being 20% x 100GBP + £50 being 50% of the 100GBP remainder)

It is our intention to make all of our 10+ part instrumental works available as hires by default (none of these hire rules apply to choral or stage works), both via our website and nkoda/Zinfonia.  However we realise that this may not always be appropriate or that some members may wish to have some of their 10 or less player sets made available via hire.  If you’d like to discuss details further or which to exclude or include certain works, please let me know.

CE Books

We recently expanded our CE Books in collaboration with John Palmer’s Vision Edition offering with a new title by composer Richard Barrett: Music of Possibility which sets out his key compositional ideas and an aural score, analysis and discussion of Jonathan Harvey’s Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco by Palmer himself.  If you have ideas or have progressed with extra-compositional works whether they be research, analysis or reflections on practice, I’d like to hear about them!

Dan Goren
Director
Composers Edition

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Zinfonia – hire facilities

Partly prompted by making our catalogue available through nkoda we’re moving forward with investing in listing large-scale works in the Zinfonia music publisher portal, used by all the major publishers to manage hire agreements world-wide. It’s the first place orchestral librarians go to source scores and parts and should serve to facilitate hire and raise the profile of the Composers Edition growing catalogue. There is a strong link with nkoda in that users are directed to Zinfonia to manage payment of hire-fees. As orchestras get increasingly digital in their parts management so this will become an increasingly important revenue stream for you. To be clear, Zinfonia puts potential hirers in contact with us so that we can arrange suitable hire fees. All hires will be discussed with members as they arise.

In order to present works as effectively as possible we’re implementing standardised orchestral forces notation for all orchestral and large ensemble works.  Sam has been in touch with a few of you individually about this.  Whether he has or not, it would be really helpful if you could ensure he has as much information as possible (e.g.minimum string forces and clarity around percussion parts).  The sooner we can get listed, the sooner we can.  Please do contact Sam.

Dan Goren
Director
Composers Edition