internet music publishing
by miriam rainsford, mstation contributor.
The accessibility of the internet has undoubtably led to one of the greatest revolutions in availability of knowledge and freedom of expression yet seen. Anyone can now establish a personal web site, at little or no cost, offering information on any subject they wish, be it esoteric, obscene, or simply banal. Yet what are we doing with these new opportunites? Is this all-encompassing plethora of information, yet devoid of any central meaning, a symptomatic reflection of the postmodern age? Sites such as the Power Pylon of the Month and www.purple.com have led some to suggest that, given infinite freedom of expression, society seems to have little to say. The accessibility of the internet has been blamed for some more sinister involvements, including the organising of the recent City of London riots and some racially-motivated bombing campaigns. To be sure, some sites do in fact provide a source of extremely useful information, including the many self-help and support groups such as the Samaritans, Cancer BACUP and Depression Alliance, that thanks to the internet, can now offer services worldwide to users in moments of need. And in general most would agree that due to its while its services may be open to abuse, the Internet is a positive tool which has become an essential part of our contemporary sociological makeup. Musicians have recently discovered the internet to be a window of opportunity into the hitherto closed doors of the publishing world, where commercial success has until now dictated what was deemed acceptable and what was not, leaving those who were working on original material in less commercial fields to struggle to find rare opportunities for performance or release of their work.
I spoke recently with six independent publishers about what led them to consider the internet as an advantageous medium for conveying their work to a wider audience, and also caught up with Mstation contributor Laura Conrad on her recent work including a new edition of Dowland songs.
Alexander Comitas (Ed de Boer) - www.comitas.org
The Dutch composer Ed de Boer is currently based on the island of Texel, in north-eastern Holland. His works are lush and grand in scale, with a rich melodic interest and a strong neo-romantic grounding that is much enjoyed by performers and audiences alike, but has at the same time led to his increasing isolation from the mainstream of Dutch contemporary music, where popularity with one's audience is not seen in quite such a positive light. His struggles for acceptance by his peers led to fewer and fewer commissions, and in 1999 his move to Texel seemed to signal yet further isolation from the contemporary music scene. Yet in fact he is enjoying increasing popularity, as around this time he established a website under his pseudonym Alexander Comitas, which has had extraordinary success in allowing his music to reach a wider audience, and thus bypassing the prejudices that had hindered his work. Recently he made the move into internet publishing of his music through a new website, Opus 33 Music, where interested performers may order scores of his work, produced in Sibelius.
I asked him initially what led him into publishing independently:
Previously, Ed de Boer produced his own hand-copied scores for performances, a laborious and time-consuming project; his first steps into the world of computing and independent publishing were through using the Sibelius score-writing program, which helped greatly in the process of copying large symphonic scores:
His gradual involvement in computing, and later in internet publishing, then led on to allow his music to come into contact with musicians internationally, despite his isolated position. He speaks about the advantages that the internet has so far provided in making his work known:
A list of forthcoming performances of pieces by Ed de Boer is available, including 'A Night on Culbin Sands', the first work to be published through Opus 33 Music.