MusicSpoke is a retailer of artist owned (self-published) music. There are several other companies/services (SheetMusicPlus, JWPepper MyScore, CadenzaOne, Swirly Music, and several coops) also retailing artist owned music. All of these organizations are doing a great job in their various niches. MusicSpoke has a special niche I will try to describe as best I can.
MusicSpoke is not a publisher, but from a conductor’s perspective, I think in a sense it fills the place of a publisher. However, and don’t misunderstand, MusicSpoke is definitely, completely, intentionally not a publisher.
A publisher invests in a piece of music. They say “we are endorsing, promoting, and selling” it. Their endorsement means that they are standing by the piece as quality. Thus the piece reflects on the publisher, and their reputation reflects on it.
MusicSpoke also invests in a similar way, but with a big difference. MusicSpoke does not invest (so to speak) in a piece of music. Rather, they invest in composers. With a selective process, composers gain the ability to retail music with MusicSpoke. MusicSpoke, by accepting a composer, endorses, promotes, and sells the composers works that are retailed with them. Like a traditional publisher, there is a vetting process that ensures a certain standard before pieces come to conductors. But the vetting is on composers, not pieces. In my opinion the advantages to this system are huge.
Here are a few of the MusicSpoke advantages: composers select the pieces to share with conductors and receive a more substantial payment percentage. Buyers always have the ability to be in contact with the composer of a piece they purchase, they always get to view an entire score before purchasing, and nearly always get to listen to a recording of the piece. Additionally, MusicSpoke promotes their composers at conferences, conducts reading sessions, maintains a very interesting blog, and is built on solid business practice. However, for composers, perhaps the best part is that they retain the copyright to all their own music.
This illustrates an advantage to retaining the copyright. I have a piece, “We’re Going Home,” on my website and on MusicSpoke (here) that I am very fond of. A little more than a minute and a half into the piece is a section that I wanted to update to make it easier to read. I did not change the music, just the layout of these two systems. I think you’ll agree when you look at the before and after pictures of one of the systems. I can only do this because I own the copyright. If it was with a traditional publisher, this would be either impossible or a trying hassle.
Here are before and after pictures, and a recording of the “the trumpet sound” section.
Here is a full recording of “We’re Going Home” for your listening enjoyment:
If you haven’t checked out MusicSpoke‘s website, take a look and listen to some of the fabulous choral music available there!