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Why hasn't the web wiped out Printed Sheet Music?
Random Thoughts and Helpful Hints in the Wonderful World of Sheet Music

Sheet Music was supposed to be one of the casualties of the new medium, along with
books, DVDs and the motor car. (We would all be telecommuting and working from home).
In fact, the opposite has happened. There are more books being sold now than ever before.
Amazon was the first business to make real money via the internet, by providing a new,
faster way for people to find books. DVDs might succumb to downloads as cable companies
try to find new ways to make a buck. But there is still the very human thing of "owning" a copy
of a favourite movie in a physical form, in much the same way that book lovers like to see their
books sitting within easy reach on the shelf.


Sheet Music has undergone a sales boost, with the world of music now being only a
few clicks of the mouse away. Gone are the days of having to rely on local music shops who
could only ever carry a tiny percentage of the most popular items from around the world. My
favourite site for sheet music is SheetMusicPlus. I've been buying stuff from them for years from
the other side of the world with very few problems. And when there was the occasional glitch,
they answered my email promptly and fixed the problem without delay.


Digital Downloads of sheet music account for a growing part of the market. Pop
singles are the most likely target for this method of delivery. Publishers have also discovered
that this is a cheap way of keeping in print many old titles which would otherwise never have
seen the light of day again. The quality might not be perfect, but an OK product is better than
none at all. 
VirtualSheetMusic.com is worth a look. There are still issues with licensing in different parts
of the world, so even if you locate a digital download for the song you are looking for, you might
not be allowed to download it. Often there are separate downloads available for different parts
of the world, but not always. If you live outside the USA this can be a problem.

Digital Publishing is still in its infancy. Whether it replaces its traditional counterpart in the
commercial arena any time soon remains to be seen. What it has opened up is a place for
new composers to promote their wares, at very little cost. Vanity publishing this is called in the
printed book business. Any budding writer with sufficient cash can convert their treasured
manuscript into a pile of printed books. As far as I know, there was never much of this in the
music publishing business, possibly because of the large costs for engraving the music. One of
the first, and one of the biggest, sites is ScoreExchange.com. Set up by the people who built the
Sibelius music notation program, it contains somewhere around 60,000 pieces of music, some
original, some arrangements of old masters, some good, some bad. As this is as good a place
as any for some blatant self-promotion, why not take a look at my humorous piece for high school
or college choir,
A Choral Menagerie. If you are looking for something a bit more serious, why
not take a look at (and listen to) my setting of William Skakespeare's
Sonnet XXVII, "Weary
with toil, I haste me to my bed ", for SATB choir. For younger singers try
A Song in the Night or
A Mouse in the House. They are all original, and you can decide for yourself whether they fit
into the good or bad category.


Disclaimer: Whilst I don't intend to spread false information, I will admit that my research
methods for this column are less than thorough. (Sometimes I get up from the computer
and look at a book, but not often ... ). So if you reference this page as a key resource for
your term paper, you should make sure that you know what you are doing.


If you would like
to convert this monologue to a dialogue, or you have a question vaguely
related to sheet music, you can
contact me here. I don't guarantee to respond to every email,
unless I know the answer or you made me laugh (either intentionally or unintentionally). It will also
help you to get through my spam filter if you mention the word
music somewhere in the subject
line of your email.


If you would like to browse and possibly buy some sheet music, then please take a look at my
Sheet Music Database of over 300,000 titles.
 

  Copyright Ian Maurer 2005-2018.