I've recently made available scores for some of my chamber pieces, many of which I've shared on the VSL forum, as they've all been produced using VSL instruments. There are currently 17 scores, with full audio available to peruse at the following link: [url=https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/search?Ntt=Carovillano]Chamber Music Scores by David Carovillano[/url] If you feel inclined, please take a look and listen to any of the works that catch your interest. All the best, Dave
It's a good idea to commercialise your scores and parts, at least if there's any real interest. I quit selling my stuff long time ago. Woever wants to perform my works, has to ask it and I send everything in digital (printable) version. All my music is ready to be printed (not in highest engraver quality, but usable for all musicians and conductors). From time to time, one or more works are performed, and that's more than enough to me... I don't have to live of my music. It's only a creative urge to write and I enjoy myself and it keeps my brains from degenerating. 😕
Thanks, William and Jos.
William, the sales have been flooding in, making it very worthwhile to assemble scores and parts. If things continue like this, I'll be able to buy a cup of coffee by year's end :)
Jos, it is always an advantage to have an income derived from non-musical ventures, like teaching. There likely isn't an "instrumental/classical/non-film music composer" on the planet earning a living solely from composition. That said, I'm assembling scores and parts as part of that ever-important personal desire to accomplish my goals, of which a printed collection of my scores is one.
All the best,
"I'm assembling scores and parts as part of that ever-important personal desire to accomplish my goals, of which a printed collection of my scores is one." - acclarion
That is exactly the way I feel about printing/publishing scores. Creating something like an "archive" of one's music. Somehow the music doesn't fully exist unless I can see and hold it in printed form. The few orchestral/concert band scores by other composers I own have an extreme value to me. In fact the only scores I buy are pieces that I love and want to fully POSSESS. I can do this if I actually hold the written music in my hand.
This may be pathological I don't know.
by the way it no longer matters in the slightest whether a composer is actually published by an existing music publisher. Nothing is done by the publishers today- who all reject nearly all current orchestral/chamber music - except to print a piece - something anybody now can do - then place the name of the piece on a list. No promotion, no publicity, nothing else. And then, for this wonderful service, the publisher takes 90% of any sales. They do almost nothing, then take 90%.
So self-publishing is no longer something to be ashamed of - it means the person doing it is not a complete idiot.
I totally agree with everything you said, William. In the past, being signed to a publisher was essentially proof/validation in your skill and quality of your work, as well as an indication that it might be marketable. Today, there's really no benefit in being attached to a publisher, nor is it likely that obscure, unknown composers of classical music will be courted by any publishing company. Publishers/record labels, etc. sign only proven acts so they can get their share of the pie with the least possible effort. It's kind of like banks only willing to give loans to those that don't need them. Dave
If looking at music strictly from an economic standpoint, it's subject to the same rules/criteria that govern a capitalist society: it must provide value to an individual/group that is willing to pay for it precisely because they need/want it and cannot acquire it through any other means than buying it.
The music many of us are interested in creating, sadly, has very little meaning/relevance/noteriety in today's society. Compounding the problem is that the few that are interested in it (on this very forum, we have a small group of regulars that enjoy commenting on works and/or sharing their own) are no more inclined to purchase music that is available freely than a 15 year old is to purchase an album vs. streaming it on Spotify/Youtube, etc. And as composers that seek an audience for our music, we willingly (perhaps grudgingly) accept that the only way we'll have any chance to share in some meaningful discourse about the music we have lovingly created, is to offer it up freely and be thankful for the few that will take the time to listen. There is value in it, but the easy availability of literally lifetimes worth of content, devalues it at the individual level. Music as a whole has value, but the individual artist rarely does.
For me, I've learned the hard way a simple lesson in business that I always knew from my other non-music enterprises: find a niche market that has a viable and tangible interest in a product that can be produced, distributed and monetized effectively. When I started trying to market my music online, I learned that the ease in which I earned money in my other ventures, was completely not possible with music. To this day, I have to laugh at how much time I put in to trying to make $5 with music, when I have, for example, another non-music related business that has seen neglect for months at a time, but still generates passive income for me, simply because there's a viable and sustainable niche market for it.
Having read endless accounts of depressed composers/musicians (especially orchestra musicians...some of the most depressed "employees" on the planet...doing something they're supposed to love) I've learned that the only way to find happiness as an artist, is to diversify your interests, savour whatever little musical victories you can (for me, those that take time to comment on music in this forum provide great joy) and above all, have a strong sense of self-purpose: be your own biggest fan (and no, not in an arrogant, self-agrandising way).
Remember also that the grass is always greener on the other side: I had a surgeon once that upon discovering I played the accordion, told me how he had studied it for 10 years and only was in "Grade 2" (using a graded book series I was familiar with). I said to him, it's probably a blessing that he wasn't musically gifted because he became a surgeon and had a fairly posh office that very few musicians could ever afford. He laughed it off, but a week later when I returned for a follow up visit, he said to me, "I listened to your CD, and it made me wish I could play the accordion like that." I responded: "I wish I could have a six month waitlist of patients needing my services like you have!"
Enough rambling...just felt like sharing among friends (and strangers lol)
Interesting thoughts. The economics of music is very interesting. Since I do not depend on music to make a living, perhaps I have the luxury of viewing this more from a consumer's perspective....and now that I have time off my other work...here goes some rambling...
I feel that selling a piece of music is the composers/artists burden. The public can be blamed to some extent for lack of taste. But there is good music in all genres being made today and they are making money. If the public does not feel inclined to listen to or pay for music, why should they? Music is supposed to entertain, after all. Of course, this depends on the intelligence of the listener. A song by Justin Beiber likely to make far more money than a string quartet by the most leading composer of today, given the underlying marketing and the whole money-making music industry surrounding such artists who appeal to teenagers and such. But the point is that good composers today will still make a living out of the music if there is some audence. The key is to get to that audience and the best way (I feel) to do that is to make the music freely available.
If a piece of classical, or non-mainstream music is on YT or other media for free, the composer should consider it an honor that someone even came to that channel and chose to listen to it, given that nowadays there is just about every classical masterpiece from the last 300 years, and even contempoprary music, available for free on YT.
For example the entire album of Abrahmsen "Let me tell you" :
Ive been listening to this again and again. Even though this is free on YT, I am likely to buy a CD copy so I can save it to my private collection and listen to it on hifi stereo, because I find this composition, including harmony and orchestration ,as well as the recording, performance and production absolutely fascinating, let alone the world class performers including Hannigan. I will probably also attend a live performance of the piece if it happens nearby. But the fact is that this is freely available music, yet the artists are making money through concerts and such. (I think 'Let me tell you' also won a major award). I would not have known about this work without the free medium of YT. Now multiply me by a 1000, even thats about a 100,000 dollars (assuming $100 for concert ticket + CD) in business. So free stuff generates business due to publicity.
Another thought is (which I am sure Dave and Bill know far more than me..so please take my thoughts as ignorant rambling again) why not explore film scoring? Given the extremely low quality of hollywood film scores today, I would imagine that the highly talented crowd in this forum can really make a change, given sufficient effort in networking and publicizing, to reach potentially interested directors. Again I feel that whether to like the music or not is up to the audience, and the burden of 'being liked' is on the composer, at least if he/she wants to make money out of it.
Sorry for the deviation from the main topic. I even forgot to congratulate Dave on his excellent work and getting his scores printed.
"Even though this is free on YT, I am likely to buy a CD copy so I can save it to my private collection " - agitato
Unfortunately this is completely untrue of 99% of others besides nice people like you. It is why the recording industry has been nearly destroyed. What nearly everyone does is listen on youtube, never pay a thing, then move on. Same thing for all free listening. And if they don't do it off the internet they go to libraries, check out a stack of CDs, and copy it all onto their phones even though it says on every disc NO COPYING.
In the past, a person could make a recording and lots of money. For example - the Beatles. They stopped live performances after a while, but made huge amounts of money just selling records. It is a certainty that they could not do that today. The most successful band ever. Or Glenn Gould - he stopped doing live performances and only recorded. He wouldn't make a dime now. All because of the internet and easy copying.
However, ASCAP has been reporting that recently some new legislation has been passed that will help composers/performers get paid instead of totally ripped off on the internet.
Thats true, while also sad...especially what you said about copying CDs. It looks like that there is no real way to protect music. Digital technology is as much a bane as it is a boon for music, since it allows easy reproduction, copying and distribution. With analog, at least the quality will deteriorate as we make copies unless its professionally done, so there is some motivation to get originals.
The physicists who invented semiconductors wouldve hardly realized what their discovery would lead to...computers, the internet and the end of copyright in music.
I buy CDs since there is a feeling of guilt that it is an artists work...and not just classical. I am into Latin music (salsa) as well and often buy singles, even though most are free on YT.
" I buy CDs since there is a feeling of guilt that it is an artists work...and not just classical." - Anand
I admire that. That's exactly what I feel also. It is so easy to copy things but I can't do it out of sheer guilt. Too bad other people feel no guilt !!
It's ironic that in the 1920s-50s records - first 78 rpm then LPs - had a value that sometimes was enormouos. Like many of the great blues men in the South learned a lot about playing by listening to a few precious 78 records. And then to produce one was a big deal - only a record company could do it.
Now, anyone can produce a record. And as we know here, even with great orchestral sound. But that ability removed most money out of the equation. Though there are few venues with film and TV as you mentioned. But it seems music as pure music is now basically FREE !
Which translates as "We want what you do, but we're not paying you a penny. As opposed to the plumber, the electrician, the garbage company - we will pay them immediately everything they ask for, but you - a musician? Ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaaaaaaa......"
William and Anand, it's great to hear the conversation evolving and your different perspectives.
You made some valid arguments in favour of freely available music, Anand. I do agree that it is possible to leverage such exposure in to monetizable opportunities, but I would suggest it is far more difficult and far less common than you might imagine. First, a distinction needs to be made: if one is simply a composer of classical/instrumental music, it is likely that the only way they can earn any money from composition is an academic appointment (in which essentially composition serves as their "research" activities, while teaching students is the real reason they're employed) or through a commission. In Canada, we have a great deal of government funding for such activities (performance/composition grants, travel grants/residencies, etc.) However, such grant applications take immense work to assemble, have year-long waiting periods for results, and only end up funding a handful of the thousands of applications per year.
If one is a performer as well as a composer, there may be more opportunities to introduce one's own work to audiences, such as was the case for many years with my duo and quartet. However, even here, the vast majority of our concert bookings would be sold on big-name composers/pieces, or in our case on the novelty of the instrumentation. Then, I would program my own pieces on these shows, between more well-known works. The only success we've ever had selling CDs in meaingful numbers, was at live shows.
I've spent literally thousands of hours making youtube videos, promoting on social media, creating websites, etc. over the years, only to be met with the reality that virtually no income has been generated, and no meaningful audience cultivated through these means. Just putting music up with pictures, or "re-scoring films" with our own original music does nothing to grow a career, save for a very tiny few that either have cracked the code, so to speak (the ability to understand SEO, alogrhythms, etc. to gain visibility on platforms such as youtube).
In another business I have, I could receive 100 views of a youtube video and get a 10% conversion, with 10 sales based on those hundred views. I've had a 50,000 view music performance not get me a single CD sale, simply because the music was freely available and nobody bought it...except at a live concert, where with 100 people in the audience, I could have sold 30 CDs!
Another thing that occurs to me is the difficulty gaining any sort of momentum/traction when one has an individual success. For example, among composer friends of mine (myself included), we may have successfully acquired a commission/premiere performance that was very-well received. One would think through networking, establishing relationships, name-dropping, building up one's bio, successful opportunities would lead to additional ones with the same people and new people connected to them. This typically doesn't happen. Within my own network, if we've done a great concert, it could be 5 plus years before we're invited to perform again with the same organization. If one promoter/presenter speaks highly of us at an arts conference, it rarely leads to tangible opportunities. The truth is, because what we do exists in the realm of art music, and is not financially lucrative, most opportunities only exist through grants/funding programs, which are increasingly hard to come by. The idea of selling out a concert hall for anything but video game orchestral music, Star Wars night, or Beethoven's 5th meets Pink Floyd, is highly unlikely.
As for film scoring, that's even more unlikely. It is 100% based on first, living in the environment (L.A. typically), being well-connected, after spending years sucking up to the right people, and essentially acting as a composer's assistant (slave), moments of luck, incredible charisma/business savvy, etc. Most classical composers are inherantly isolationists, who don't function well in the social circles that one must navigate to become a film composer. Further, their thirst to compose music true to their own interests/talents, can often be at odds with the needs of the industry. For me personally, I wouldn't want to write music according to the whims of a film director that grew up on music I have no interest in, anymore than I'd want to teach seventh grade band...yes, you're technically doing something with music, but it's so far removed from what you actually want to do, that you may as well earn money doing something completely unrelated, and allowing music to be your true escape from the obligations of life.
Just a few more thoughts...I could go on and on (don't open Pandora's Box here!) but, it's fun to discuss these things, even if they can be somewhat depressing.
All the best,
While I share the frustrations of everyone in the group regarding the difficulty faced in obtaining live performances, and building an audience, I also would hate to give up modern samples and music software. Imagine that we live in 1880. Even in 1880 there were far more composers of classical music than could be supported. Check out "unsung masterworks" on YouTube. And in 1880 no chance to hear any approximation of how your composition would sound if performed.
So I don't think there is a solution. Unless one gets extremely lucky, we are stuck with enjoying composition as a hobby.
That is a good point Paul. We have a skewed view today because we only know about the great and successful composers whose work is still played. We don't hear about the lesser known but often very good ones who are forgotten. If one could somehow make a demographic survey of both eras it would probably not be that different a situation for composers.
What Dave said he expressed it so perfectly. I have the exact same feelings, especially n the less usually known aspect of nothing leading anywhere. You have a wonderful performance that the audience loved and think wow, this music is going somewhere now! And then NOTHING. It just dries up like a bucketful of water dumped into Death Valley.
But as Paul said this also brings up samples - particularly VSL - and how fantastic a benefit they are for composers, allowing works to come into some kind of existence..
It sounds like all of you have at least a few "moments to cherish" when your music was heard and appreciated, even if it did not lead anywhere long term. I don't think I will ever get a performance. Perhaps my music does not deserve to be performed. I don't know.
I have put a few pieces in the IMSLP library giving up my usual copyright and putting the pieces in "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 " status. Basically, under CCA it means anyone can download and play the music for free. Even record it, perform it, broadcast it, anything. All that is required is that I have to be given credit as the composer. In this way, I hope that perhaps someday something I have written gets a performance, perhaps when I am dead. I am thinking of doing that with all of my compositions.
174,384 users have contributed to 41,834 threads and 252,996 posts.
In the past 24 hours, we have 3 new thread(s), 19 new post(s) and 63 new user(s).