This was released to the UK press on 7 Sept 1998
A new way of distributing printed music combines with a new way of funding composers in a stunningly simple idea which could have tremendous world wide impact on music publishing and composing.
At www.pjb.com.au, an innovative global electronic commerce which has evolved in Australia, readers of music can now buy scores over the Internet. Most of the scores for sale are Peter Billam's own compositions , for strings, voice, brass, piano, choir and recorders. Also there are arrangements of other works by composers such as Bach, Handel, Schubert, and Brahms.
For performers buying the scores, access is easy, there are free sample pages for every score, and once purchased the score arrives immediately. The copyright terms are very generous. The purchaser, for the rest of their life, can print as many paper copies as they want for their own use, or of other musicians they are playing the piece with, or for the use of their pupils. These terms are particularly exciting for music teachers, and to players of chamber music.
Soon more composers will sell scores this way, and this will have a dramatic effect on the music that they write. When the church was paying composers, they wrote liturgical conterpoint. When the aristocracy was paying, they wrote divertimenti and dance suites. For music publishers, they wrote songs, piano duets and string quartets. For the touring virtuosi, they wrote showpieces, and so on.
Since the era of the touring virtuoso, composers have received little income from sales of their scores. Hence they have not had much financial incentive to write music that is enjoyable to read. Now at last the Internet can reconnect the writers of the music to the readers. Composers will prosper if they can write music that is a pleasure to read, and that rewards repeated readings.
This is good news for composers, too. Direct on-line sale gets rid of all the messy assigning of copyright and raising of royalties, bypasses the music-publisher bottleneck, eliminates all the print runs, the warehousing, the shipping containers. It goes straight from the source to the destination in one immediate step. Peter Billam, a computer expert as well as a composer, can set up similar electronic commerces for other composers.
Internet commerce should enable arts such as composing to survive and prosper even in the post-government-funding era.
For further details contact Peter Billam at music @ pjb.com.au or by phone at (Australia) (0) 362 369 410