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MMD > Archives > January 1997 > 1997.01.11 > 04Prev  Next


Big Publisher vs. Little Music-Roll Company
By Stephen Kent Goodman

Matthew Caulfield mentioned the books, "This Business of Music" and "More About This Business of Music." Both of these are good books, if not a little outdated due to both changes in the law concerning midi, and their failure to account for the Roman politics of the commercial music business.

This is not legal advice, only opinion, but consider this scenario: A producer chooses a collection of tunes that show his/her instrument(s) off and is really happy with the selections. They are recorded and preliminary issue is 1000 copies or less. They sell out and the second 1000 run is planned. In the meantime, the producer receives a nasty note containing a variation of "pay up or be sued", blah blah blah, et al &tc, from one or more publishers of the tunes used.

The producer takes the story to a news service like UPI or AP; elicits a writer who loves "David vs. Goliath" type stories. Suddenly, it becomes "the little band organ (piano roll, whatever)" producer struggling to preserve this forgotton instrument's music by issuing miniscule quantities of a recording versus GREEDY MONSTER PUBLISHER. Not only would the publisher, most likely, back off for publicity damage-control, but the producer might actually sell out his/her run and press far more recordings from the resulting publicity and subsequent demand.

A risky game, for sure, but big risks often reap big rewards. "Politically incorrrect" titles & tunes in this era of cultural policing may be used in a similar fashion.

Hey, how do you think they used to hustle ragtime in the "good ol' days"? Let's get the music and the sounds of the instruments out there!

S. K. Goodman (My 2c-worth for the day...)


(Message sent Sat 11 Jan 1997, 18:48:58 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Big, Company, Little, Music-Roll, Publisher, vs

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