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  Boosey`s Interview Questions  Misuc at 09:32 on 01 July 2008

A representative of a big music publishing company owned by the Dutch Pension Fund recently sent a little information to this site giving us the names of three composers they had chosen to invest in.

Later she joined the Forum and used its facilities to present us with links to commercial hype around the particular composers concerned.

OK. It's all part of information which it does not harm us greatly to know about.

But as soon as she was asked to talk about her own feelings and judgement concerning these composers or other questions of interest to the general run of composers for whom this forum was intended, the commercial interests involved made her, quite correctly, chose to refrain from further comment.

Now she is being granted an interview, and instead of the normal exchange of info and ideas on these pages, questions to her are called for under privileged conditions(i.e. - as I understand it: in such a way that we will not be able to see what they are - unless she choses to refer to them in her answers)

I understand that this forum is not intended to be run as a democratic institution run by its members - such a project would be completely unrealistic. Meanwhile all credit to David for running this enterprise so fairly and openly and for taking so many helpful inittiatives. But is this interview called for? Was there any demand for it? Is it going to be possible for the representatives of the Dutch Pension Fund/International conglomerate to give honest answers to honest questions? If so, why did their rep not give them at the time when she was given every opportunity to participate in any way she felt like as an equal member of this forum?

  Re: Boosey`s Interview Questions  James McFadyen at 10:24 on 01 July 2008

Let's face it, if she wants to keep her job and even get promotion, she would have to be very calculated to what she said in the interview. That's just big corporate business.

All credit to David for getting the interview but nobody can expect too much from these kinds of interviews, at best it's for good marketing on behalf of the company and there's nothing wrong with that really; again, big corporate business.

  Re: Boosey`s Interview Questions  Misuc at 10:55 on 01 July 2008


  Re: Boosey`s Interview Questions  David Bruce at 15:36 on 01 July 2008

I've had some interesting questions from members via ct mail, and have submitted them today, so let's see what the response is before pre-judging.

  Re: Boosey`s Interview Questions  Ben Mueller-Heaslip at 23:01 on 04 July 2008

I don't know about that, guys. Haven't exactly done a solid job or presenting critical questions, have we?

Here's one: it seems to me that the composer/publisher relationship that made B&H what it is no longer exists: a very few number of years ago elite composers had to deal with monopolistic publishing companies to disseminate their work. Now (at least here in Canada, where I live) there's an increasing trend of the most influential composers creating micro-publishing to maintain control of their work. It seems clear that this is a response to the ineffectiveness of traditional publishing. If B&H doesn't evolve a new approach to elite composers, it'll be left publishing the desperate dregs of quasi-sucessful and mediocre composers. Might work in the sort-term; in the long-term it's an obvious death sentance.

There is a definite emergence of self-published work. My local example is R.Murray Schafer and his very savy Arkana Music publishing.

At this point, the strategy seems to be a) picking up works by minor (emerging) composers and b) cherry picking works by established composers who don't have a clue about how the post-1990 publishing industry works.

So: What's the plan for re-establishing the company's creditability with significant composers? I don't go for the big business = evil model so much, but do very much think that there's a mutual responsibility that needs some reinvention.

  Re: Boosey`s Interview Questions  Misuc at 14:11 on 05 July 2008

Quite right, Ben.

The major single obstacle to progress in fighting the disease and mortality crisis that is devastating the world is the dominance of the major pharmaceutical giants and - in particular - their obsession with grabbing exclusive patenting rights. The same goes for much innovation in science, technology and agriculture.

The same goest for the music 'industry'. I used to work for a magazine ('Time Out' - this is all of twenty years ago - I had occasion to take up a case I had heard of where the Music Publishers Association were taking an impoverished education authorityto court for having photocopied some sheets of music sung in public by a children's choir. I rang the MPA up. "But you should be on our side" they said. "We are protecting composers' interests." "Really?" I asked "Can you tell me how many living composers were involved in this case?" "Just a minute..." (Long Pause) "Sorry about that." "OK. Can you tell me....?" "Just one composer." "OK. And who was that?" "Alun Hodinott" So I rang him up and asked him if he was aware that the Music Publishers were standing for his rights in fighting X-side Education Authority for depriving him of his royalties.." "Oh, the MPA? F*** them! You know how much I would get per sheet sung? 10p! My interest is in having my pieces performed.... This can lead to commissions etc....As a matter of fact, more and more of us are getting thoroughly fed up with the publishers and are moving into publishing our own stuff..." This was before the age of the computer. Already in those days the photocopier had all but made music publishers redundant in the same way that, centuries earlier, music printing had made the Royal monopoly protection racket inoperable. The only use for 'music publishing' the MPA way is to provide a sort of Mafia of the privileged protecting their own against a world where more and more have the means to create music and where the hunt for people who are prepared to play the sole role of passive listener is getting ever and ever more critical and cut-throat.

  Re: Boosey`s Interview Questions  Ben Mueller-Heaslip at 18:19 on 05 July 2008

It seems to me that we might be agreeing about something, Misuc! : the combination of new resources for self-publishing (and easy distribution) with the a regressive, conservative (conservative in the economic sense - meaning extreme risk-avoidance rather than in the artistic sense... the artistic side of the term being more-or-less irrelevant to the point) approach to building relationships with composers means companies of this scale have little potential to do much more than offer a hollow pretense of being interested in composition.

But isn't it also true that the broken relationship affects the publishers as well? Of course many of these companies are quite monolithic and resistant to change, so they don't react so quickly to what's happening as individual composers have.

Even so, I'm sure there's some recognition that it's increasingly difficult to maintain even a vestigial artistic role. I think a fair comparison would be with the vast majority of orchestras: they've mostly become mueseums for the canonical work; the companies we're talking about are on the same level. I don't know if it's possible for large-scale institutions to be artistically relevant now.

I think the last stage in pretending is companies doing more with quasi-independent branches (little "new composition" divisions, etc.), motivated by wanting to maintain the perception that they support composition (and therefore deserve favourable consideration by government agencies!) but I don't see that working: I have a feeling that the safety of working with established materials will clip any real momentum in that direction for a company of any size.

So I say screw it: the role of companies like B&H has changed, smaller-scale publishing and distribution works and offers composers flexability and a real relationship with someone engaged in their music.

I don't think this is a reflection on Sarah's character - personally I find her very nice and appreciate the fact that she wants to communicate her perspective - nor does it set up B&H as a bogey. One difference between our perception of this issue may be that you're slightly (I think) older and perhaps experienced enough of this transformation to have been disappointed by it. I think most composers of my generation take it for granted that independent and small-scale publishing is the only way to go.

But if B&H wants to maintain the illusion I don't see any harm in that: it'll give a boost to a couple people's careers while the alternatives continue to develop concurrently.

  Re: Boosey`s Interview Questions  ngohrvinet at 11:13 on 22 March 2009

Thanks very much for your nice post.

I would like to introduce you Microsoft interview questions. I hope it is useful:

Rgs and keeping post

  Re: Boosey`s Interview Questions  Misuc at 14:01 on 22 March 2009

What is this and who are you and what do you want?