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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


   

THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC

Reflections of a Music Publisher

by ERNST ROTH 6. ECONOMICS

Experience has established certain wise rules which govern the way in which the right price of goods and services results from the interplay of supply and demand-in which, with a good measure of exactitude, jewellery and potatoes, bank managers and chimney-sweeps, find their market. Such reliable methods do not apply to the arts and their products, which have a pretium affectionis that can never be 'right'. Affection is often an extravagant spender, and indifference an incorrigible miser. If one tried to analyse the total (and fantastic) expenditure on music and find where it all went, one would discover that there is almost mindless generosity where no real value and lasting benefit result, and great and often ill-tempered economy exercised where money could buy something precious. It could, therefore, be said that the whole economy of music is misdirected. This is not altogether new, but it is more obvious now that music really brings the money rolling in. There is an unprecedented boom in music, but the price asked and paid for it is still the most sensitive point in the nervous system of our musical life.

In the noisy world of popular music the problems are not quite so acute. This is felt by all concerned, the entertainers as well as the entertained.

Musicals, to start with, are an important business proposition. The authors and owners of a successful musical often impose extraordinary conditions: such a musical-which on the Continent has not yet supplanted the old operetta-is, for a long period, the private perquisite of the Broadway theatre and of the original cast which first staged it; on a day often determined several years ahead it must be presented with the original cast in a large London theatre, and remains reserved for a further long period during which nobody else can acquire any rights in it. Authors, publishers and promoters form a natural consortium which sees to it that in the first five or six years all the available money flows into their pockets alone. Only when the cream has thus been skimmed off does their grip loosen enough for other theatre-managers, sub-publishers and singers to be allowed a share in the proceeds. There is amazingly little opposition to this quasi-monopoly, and no complaint is ever raised, for the expectation of eventually channelling at least a tributary of the mighty stream of money into one's own till silences all the objections which would be raised if such ruthless exploitation was tried with serious music.

Earlier successes of musicals or their equivalents seem rather modest compared with those of our days. In its own day, when the difference between opera and operetta was hardly known, The Magic Flute was the greatest draw of the musical theatre. On the stage of its original performance it achieved the sensational run of a hundred performances in thirteen months, from 30 September 1791 to 31 October 1792, more than a century later, when opera and operetta had definitely parted, operetta being recognized not as a short opera but as a dramatic musical entertainment of lesser artistic ambition and lower purpose, Lehar's Merry Widow ran for four hundred performances between 1905 and 1907 at the theatre where it opened. But Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma was played in the same Broadway theatre from 1943 till 1949, for five years and nine weeks, 2,I52, performances in a row. This was no isolated case. South Pacific, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, not to mention My Fair Lady, beat all the old records. This boom far exceeds the equivalent growth of population and wealth. It is sad and almost frightening to see how public pleasure in The Magic Flute turned into the passion for The Merry Widow and her Viennese successors, and how this passion has become an obsession with the musicals of today. Small wonder that the money pours down on the lucky authors like Jupiter's golden rain into Danae's lap. Even if the sale of sheet music is but a fraction of what it was in the days of The Merry Widow, stage performances (already an important source of income in Lehar's day), the sale of millions of records, broadcasting, television and sound film, all unknown in 1905, provide a revenue which far exceeds anything popular works could earn before. Not even the American taxcollector and his colleagues around the world could give an exact estimate of the total revenue of any of the great musicals of the last twenty-five years certainly quite a few million dollars, of which on average two-thirds go to the authors and one-third to the publishers and sub-publishers. This, however, takes no account of what is lost in those costly failures which rub shoulders unobtrusively with the successes.

Popular songs are much smaller affairs than musicals, but their capacity for making money is in comparison no smaller. As I have explained, the interpreter is the vital key to these hidden treasures. It is estimated that, in the last twenty-five years, 300,000,000 of Bing Crosby's records have been sold-and not all the songs were good in themselves, without his inimitable rendering. The authors whose product catches the imagination of a singer of Birlg Crosby's calibre can consider themselves very lucky indeed. Among the groups of long-haired young men who at present dominate the world of light-music entertainment, the Beatles are selling 15,000,000 records a year. These are figures which were never reached by the old light or popular music, even in the great years between about 1860 and 1914 when such immortal melodies as 'The Blue Danube', 'Les Patineurs' or 'O sole mio' were written, played, printed and sold all over the world.

It is only natural that the happy inventors of new noises and new ways of making them are not satisfied with their shares as authors and performers. They have turned publishers as well, and so corner all the available revenue; and this has caused much resentment among legitimate publishers. But how legitimate is the publishing of pop-songs? There is little if anything to preserve for posterity. The performer reigns supreme, and next to him comes the record-manufacturer. And he, too, tries his hand at publishing, not being satisfied with the profits from the sale of his records but wanting the publisher's share of mechanical royalties as well. The game is well worth the candle. A number-one hit may earn a hundred thousand dollars in a few weeks, which for a piece of music of two and a half minutes' duration is no mean commercial feat But, again, this does not happen every day. The number of the lucky ones is small, the failures are legion and if anyone, writer or publisher, believes that Tin Pan Alley is paved with gold he will soon be disappointed.

The serious music-lover is easily inclined to frown upon the disproportionate profitability of musicals and pop-songs and to say that fortunes are made without any visible effort by exploiting the unstable nervous condition of the young. To send millions of teenagers into a frenzy is not an art in any sense. But this popular music does not pretend to belong in the category of 'art'. It is a tonic mixed from mysterious ingredients that causes the excesses which only music can cause, excesses which provide an outlet for the aimless rebellion of a dissatisfied young generation without bringing it into physical conflict with the law and the police. For such useless but profitable purposes a lot of money is spent, but no more than it is worth to the consumers. There is a market level in operation which does not differ essentially from the trade in other and often similarly doubtful goods.

The howling musical entertainment of today has necessarily displaced the more dignified light music of our parents and grandparents. Only the best works maintain a somewhat uneasy existence, though more of this unfashionable music can be heard on the Continent than in faster-moving England and America. But sometimes the new ways of utilizing music open up unexpected commercial channels, even for this type.

The publishing company which I served used to publish great quantities of band music. In the good old days when soldiers marched on foot and fleets consisted of battleships and cruisers, each with large guns and large bands, there was an almost insatiable demand for marches, and one of these was 'Colonel Bogey'. The composer was musical director of the Royal Marines and one of the most successful of all composers of marches. 'Colonel Bogey', written and published in 1916, quickly became the military march of the British, Canadians and Australians and has remained so to the extent that modern armies and fleets have any use for marches; it provided the composer and his successors with a modest but reliable yearly income.

One day, fifty years after the march was first played, a miracle happened: a film company made the epic The Bridge on the River Kwai, about British soldiers in Japanese captivity, and in it used this very march, which has nothing of the hollow pomp of military ceremonies but, with its unusual rhythm and melodic lift, is a perfect expression of simple optimism. In the film a group of British prisoners-of-war whistle it when they go to work on the bridge, knowing that some of them will never return. The film became a world success and the march a hit. It was 'discovered' where before it had been unknown-in Europe, in North and South America, and even in Japan. Millions of records were made and sold, and a French wine-merchant played it in his vans around France to advertise his 'vins de postillon'. The financial result for the composer's family was a sum larger than all the money the march had earned in the preceding fifty years.

The success of another march, which did not have quite such a brilliant history, was even more remarkable as it had been forgotten soon after its publication in 1921 and taken out of the catalogue. After the Second World War a BBC producer happened to find a copy and discovered something special in the march which had until then escaped everyone. He made it the signature tune of a programme series, and for more than ten years sixteen bars were played from a tape five times a week, thus providing the family of the long-departed composer with a very comfortable living.

So even in old-fashioned entertainment music there are some hidden gold-mines waiting for the lucky prospector.

Economically, the great gains of popular music complete the picture of a happy state of affairs. Some eyebrows may be raised when one reads that some clever young men in their early twenties are making the kind of fortunes which could not be made by any serious work of any nature and could not be amassed even after long years of hard study. It may be bad for morale and health. But nobody really feels robbed and the economy is nicely balanced.

Serious music, on the other hand, squeezes itself rather painfully into the market. It is not designed as entertainment for the paying public. It educates, stimulates, appeals to idealism and the higher flights of imagination, to the mysterious inner self; all nebulous, intangible values which cannot easily be translated into cash-values, it may be argued, which the creative mind owes to mankind. Education, after all, is or should be free, the doors of museums and galleries open to all, and every distinction between rich and poor banned from the world of the spirit. In such an atmosphere serious music becomes an intractable piece of merchandise. The more widely production and consumption of serious music spread, the deeper seems to become the resentment that serious music, too, costs and needs money. It is the old idea of the incompatibility of music and money, which plainly does not arise in respect of popular music. Fame is always legitimate, but money contaminates art, and the brutal requirements of modern life cannot coexist in peace with loftier human purposes. Therefore, neither the promoters of serious music nor its public adopt what would otherwise seem quite a natural attitude: those who cannot afford a first-class ticket travel second dass, and those who cannot afford a RollsRoyce drive a mini-car without accusing the railways or the carmanufacturers of discrimination against them. But when it comes to serious music, they both claim a Rolls-Royce as of right. It must not be withheld because of money.

It is a strange situation. We are outraged when we read of Mozart's financial troubles, but we do not really approve of a successful serious composer living today in very comfortable circumstances. Though romanticism is no longer accepted, there still lingers on the old romantic idea of the hungry genius creating his masterworks in an attic warmed only by his inner fire. There are few composers left in attics nowadays, but their average-if an average is at all admissible-modest affluence does not go unchallenged.

The main challenge comes from the interpreters with whom they have to share what money is available for serious music. Indeed, promoters are infinitely more generous to interpreters than to composers, on the often correct assumption that it is the interpreter-conductor, soloist or orchestra-who fills the concerthalls, rather than the works he interprets. From the great stars to the organized orchestral musicians, interpreters demand and receive the lion's share of all the money which is spent on serious music, and the fortune of a great conductor or singer far exceeds that of a similarly great composer. There are some who possess town houses, villas in the country, private planes and yachts, but, apart from an occasional sarcastic aside, nobody seems to begrudge them their opulence, while a similarly wealthy composer would without fail be the subject of many stories about greed and commercial acumen as opposed to dignified poverty.

It is there that the economics of the serious-music business seem to be misguided. For, in the midst of an unparalleled boom, serious music and its promoters are constantly fighting against financial loss and for bigger subsidies from the public treasury. In every other trade a boom fills every pocket, and popular music is no exception. But serious music cannot make ends meet. Opera-houses have never seemed to be able to balance their budgets since the days of the legendary impresario Barbaja, who could run half a dozen stagioni at a time without losing money. Later opera-houses became 'court operas', the hobby, the privilege and the duty of emperors, kings and dukes who lacked the courage to spend taxpayers' money on singers, orchestra, decors and costumes but covered the deficits of sumptuous opera-houses out of their private purses. But when most of them disappeared after the First World War democracy took over, the court operas became state or municipal undertakings and the taxpayer was thereafter the victim of the growing annual losses.

Orchestras, on the other hand, have only joined the ranks of the loss-makers fairly recently, most of them having been able, until the Second World War, to balance their budgets. This, too, is no longer so. Now opera-houses are nearly always full, orchestras play more often than before to full houses, all of them benefit from broadcasting, television, records and films-and all of them lose more and more money every year. There is a general clamour for serious music, but it is an accepted fact everywhere, in rich and poor countries alike, that the price of opera- and concert-tickets must be lower than the true economic cost, or else the public may discover that serious music is not, after all, a necessity of life. In fact, on an average, not much more than half the costs of operahouses and concert societies are covered by the sale of tickets and normal commercial principles cannot and do not apply. Public bodies, the state and municipal authorities must come to the rescue with public money, and they subsidize the ailing mass-production and consumption of serious music as unwillingly as they maintain homes for the old. Where serious music does not belong to the spiritual needs of people, loud complaints are heard about the waste of taxpayers' money on 'minority tastes'. And if the subsidizing bodies were to close their tills, all the hectic activity around serious music would be reduced to a trickle, while the roaring flood of popular music would continue to provide its makers with uncontested riches. What a contradiction ! One would like to believe that serious music too is dear to the hearts of millions who, according to the rules of economics, would be prepared to pay the right price for it. But serious music is grotesquely underpaid; or, to put it quite brutally, from an economic point of view it is bankrupt.

Though the ordinary opera- and concert-goer, provided with expensive productions and excellent performances, may never become aware of the poverty behind the glittering facade, it does influence the composition of orchestras and their repertoire. Generally speaking, orchestras today are smaller than they were fifty years ago, when every composer owed it to himself to write for quadruple woodwind, six horns, four trumpets and a correspondingly large number of strings. Such large orchestral forces are today an expense which would normally be justified only if the work in question was old and famous enough to attract a large public. A young composer or untried work could hardly expect the sacrifice involved. Equally, solo concertos and oratorios require an outlay on the part of the promoters which only established works can warrant. Bartok's violin concerto of 1938 is about the last to have been accepted into the regular repertoire; no piano concerto since Ravel's has been so honoured. It would be difficult to think of an oratorio since Stravinsky's 'Symphony of Psalms' (1930) which is regularly performed. But excellent concertos and oratorios have been written since those of Bartok, Ravel and Stravinsky. Names like Britten, Honegger, Frank Martin spring easily to mind, but for them the money is not available. If a soloist is to be engaged he must play the concertos of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms, two in one evening if possible, to give full value for his cachet, and a choral work must be by Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Verdi or Brahms in order to be sure of general acclaim and a full house.

Indeed, the finances of promoters are so delicately balanced that after they have received the subsidy and sold all the available tickets, paid the fees of soloists and the salaries of the orchestra and administrative staff, nothing remains. There is no bargaining with star conductors and soloists, no bargaining with organized orchestral musicians; but the composer and the publisher-as the weakest partners in the business are held responsible for all the financial worries. This leads to a great deal of argument and sometimes to angry exchanges. Even the broadcasting organizations, with their enormous budgets, point to the composer-and to the publisher as his representative-as the real culprits. In the richest country in the world so-called 'non-profit-making' institutions are being founded for no other purpose than to avoid paying the composer. All other participants are paid, and well paid at that-musicians, administrators, instrument-makers and tailors. But the composer must generously supply his wares free of charge. There would be a storm of indignation if he asked to be paid on the same scale as the others, or if he withheld his work.

So is it really the composer and his agents, the performing and mechanical societies and the publishers who, by constantly upsetting the economics of musical life, dig their own graves? Mechanical rights are the least contested so long as they are paid by the manufacturer as a royalty on the selling-price of every record sold, though composer-and publisher-have to make certain concessions in respect of the costs of expensive sleeves which they neither choose nor want. While the standard sheet royalty on literary and musical works is 10% of the selling-price, the royalty on records is only 8% on the Continent, 6 1/4% in Great Britain and the British Commonwealth, and even less in the United States.

But broadcasting organizations making records and tapes have to pay mechanical royalties too, and dislike doing so intensely. In 1948 the Brussels Conference for the revision of the Berne Convention expressed the view that mechanical reproductions made for the purpose of broadcasting should not give rise to an additional income for the composer and, therefore, should not require his consent, provided that such recordings be destroyed after twentyeight days. Some countries incorporated this recommendation in their new copyright laws, and some extended the period to one full year. The result is that broadcasting organizations pay a derisory amount under the heading of 'mechanical fees', a fraction of one per cent of their total expenditure. And even this seems to worry them out of all proportion. Opera-houses and orchestral societies never have occasion to pay mechanical fees.

Performing fees, on the other hand, are a general tax payable by anyone who publicly performs music. Opera-houses in Europe pay a standard rate of 10% of their takings-that is, of the actual sale of tickets. That seems fair enough, except for the fact that ticket-prices are notoriously low and cannot keep pace with the inexorable rise in the cost of living. The increasing deficit of the operahouse is covered by an annual increase in the subsidy, but the composer has to wait until the administrator or 'intendant' of the opera-house summons the courage to increase the price of the tickets again. Opera-houses in the United States will not accept the hallowed principle of paying a percentage of their takings and prefer to pay instead a lump sum which is well below 10%. As a result, and taking into consideration that most of the operas performed during a season are in the public domain and therefore free from royalties, total average performing fees paid by an average opera-house in the Old or New World hardly ever exceed two per cent of their total expenditure.

Conditions with orchestral societies are very similar: low ticketprices, large subsidies and performing fees varying from one to two per cent of the total expenses. Broadcasting organizations, with their enormous consumption of music of every type, are more difficult to assess. They pay an annual sum to the performing rights society of their country, a sum which bears little relation to the music actually broadcast but is a fixed fee per licence issued or-in the United States, where no licences are required and the number of viewers or listeners is guessed at rather than known-based on probabilities, which remains well below two per cent of the total running-costs of the organization.

Still, the managers of serious music will say that these small percentages indicate the margin between carrying on and abandoning serious music altogether. They certainly mark the battle zone wherein the publisher has to register his claims on behalf of his composers. 'Music-publishing is no business for cowards,' a famous publisher once said to me. 'One has to have guts to demand money for music, because nobody gives it gladly and voluntarily.' Indeed, it requires courage and tact. I trust I will not be suspected of advocating usury. Among my publisher colleagues I have acquired the unenviable reputation of being too accommodating towards 'musicusers'. With a stubbornness that has seldom been rewarded I have tried to find the compromise which leaves all parties without any feeling of injustice. However, courage and tact are a rare combination even in quiet times. A boom such as serious music-no less than its popular sister-is now experiencing may make rabbits courageous, but it cannot make lions tactful. When the music business grew to its full stature after the Second World War it was not at first easy to find the middle way between exaggerated demands and ill-intentioned resistance; there were wild arguments, and these the publisher had to meet, for the composer rightly kept out of the ring. It is, after all, the publisher's task to fight for his composers. But the composer involuntarily becomes a court of appeal, inclined to listen to the exhortations of promoters more readily than to his hard-boiled, businesslike publisher.

Although an uneasy armistice was achieved between the parties in the end, it remains one of the most regrettable features of our musical life that serious music cannot prosper in peace and quiet. It is the performers who dominate musical life, not only artistically but also economically. They are indispensable and, consequently, demanding. In a curious way, all parties are linked together: professional music-making, ruthlessly claiming its reward; passive listening, unwilling to spend enough to keep music going; and the composer and publisher, who between them are the great spoilers of an otherwise happy game. Perhaps some composers are unaware of this state of things; perhaps some publishers find in the endless quarrels some sporting pleasure which has eluded me. This situation has to be seen in the context of the most recent development of the art of music itself if the problems of the future are to be assessed.

The serious composer may not be highly paid by modern commercial standards, but his earnings are none the less more than adequate. Some time ago the British Composers' Guild published a statement that the British composer of serious music earns on average less than he would on National Assistance. This is quite absurd. In other walks of life the idea of an average has some validity; it is even possible to calculate an average national incomelevel. But in the arts there is no average. Ability is the only and absolute criterion, not only for the success of the work but also for the well-being of the artist. There are in Britain, as in every other country, serious composers earning next to nothing because their works are neither published nor performed. Even modern copyright legislation and modern applications of music have been unable to make failure lucrative-this goes for serious music as much as for popular. But the successful composer-and his publisher-have their share of the treasure that is constantly being dug from the soil of music. Not that riches suddenly come pouring in as they do in popular music. But over the years Puccini's Boheme or Strauss's Rosenkavalier have earned more money than all the Oklahomas and My Fair Ladys put together, whi]e Bartok's 'Divertimento' and Britten's 'Variations on a Theme of Purcell' leave all the numberone hits far behind. However, while pop songs and even musicals reach the summit of popularity-and profitability-with enviable frequency, commensurate successes by serious works are admittedly rare, and seem to become rarer as time goes on.

Serious music shares in the benefits of technical progress, particularly those of broadcasting, which multiplies performances beyond anything that could have been expected fifty years ago. Prominent performances at prominent festivals, which now fill the once quiet summer days with the most expensive noises, are relayed by most European and some American broadcasting organizations, each of which pays performing fees and so substantially increases the revenue of the composer for the single live performance.

On the other hand sound film and television, which are of inestimable value to popular music, are disappointing media for the true art. When the sound film came into being some enthusiasts forecast the arrival of a new art, and they did so again when television arrived upon the musical scene. But it has happened with neither. Both are so wedded to easy popularity that serious music is seldom admitted, producers having little confidence in its entertainment value. They have made films of the most popular operas, but even Madam Butterfly, Rosenkavalier and Don Giovanni could never compare or compete at the box-office with the films of South Pacific or My Fair Lady.

The music of an opera obviously stands in the way of any such successful adaptation. Even if the composer could be persuaded to collaborate (a very rare event) it would be discovered over and over again that the most important moments musically, when all action ceases and music alone takes possession of the stage, are quite unsuitable visually. In Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd the wicked master-at-arms Claggart has a long and important aria which, in purely musical terms, describes his character more convincingly than words could do. When Canadian television made a film of the opera, primarily for broadcasting but also in the hope it might be suitable for showing in cinemas, this aria-together with half the opera-was cut. 'Why, for God's sake, have you cut this too?' I asked the producer. 'Oh,' he replied with disarming frankness, 'we have made this Claggart up to look such a monstrous devil that we don't need the aria.' Benjamin Britten was, understandably, very cross and refused to see the film, which, in spite of all the cuts, was not a success.

Symphonic music was found a modest and not altogether legitimate place in all the new applications of music. To start with it has been discovered by choreographers. Since ballet as an art form-not easier to perform than opera, but easier to look at and to enjoy-has captured a much larger public than before the Second World War, the repertoire of ballets proper has become too small, or rather choreographers have developed a dislike for them, preferring to use symphonic pieces which seldom have an obvious choreographic 'argument', such as Mahler's 'Song of the Earth' or Mozart's 'Sinfonia concertante'. George Balanchine started it all, but he is an exceptional musician who finds something danceable even in Webern's Symphony. Other, less musical, choreographers simply misuse the music because the great majority of ballet-goers do not listen to the music at all (ballet critics hardly ever even mention the music, so subordinate is its role). Furthermore, the music is usually badly performed, not only because ballet does not command the best conductors and the best orchestras, but because the music has to consider and adapt itself to the dancing, be faster here and slower there than the composer would have it. However, such ballet productions often enough result in whole series of performances which the symphonic work could seldom achieve in its own right, and this entitles the choreographer o some measure of gratitude from the composer.

Occasionally it is a film which provides a windfall for the composer. For the exclusive use of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 a fee of $80,000 was paid. Such use is just as illegitimate as its use for ballet purposes, and Stravinsky for one will not allow his music to be used for purposes other than those for which it was written.

Naturally, the gramophone record plays a considerable part in the earnings of a successful serious composer. Sales are incomparably smaller than those of popular music but the price and, therefore, the royalties are higher, and sometimes a serious recording reaches a respectable place in the hit parade. When the recording of Benjamin Britten's 'War Requiem' first appeared it climbed, in bad company, to fourth place. Serious music also enjoys an advantage which only exceptionally comes to popular music: a standard serious work is recorded over and over again. New interpreters make new recordings which find new customers, so that recordings, like performances, become a permanent source of revenue. Moreover the long-playing record, which has caused many a headache for the makers of the two- or three-minute products of popular music, is a real blessing for the longer works of the serious art.

But it must again be remembered that only the most outstanding serious works are recorded at all; others can only be recorded with the help of subsidies, and their sales are negligible. Therefore the additional income from mechanical reproductions principally benefits those composers who already draw an important revenue from performances. This, in economic terms, conforms to the disheartening rule that money always seeks the company of its own kind.

All this has made serious music lucrative too. The composer who has provided the concert repertoire with half a dozen sizeable standard works can count on well over a thousand live or recorded performances every year, and three or four repertoire operas have a few hundred performances every season. The composer of such works achieves a six-figure annual income which compares well with the income of a substantial industrialist. Music had to travel a long way to arrive at this point

However, one does not need to write works like Madam Butterfly, Till Eulenspiegel or Petrushka to make quite a comfortable living out of serious music. More modest, more local, success and recognition also express themselves in the shape of money. There are only a few serious composers with really large incomes, but then genius is a rare quality. The number of those who have an annual-if not absolutely regular-income of between $20,000 and $50,000 is not as small as may be generally believed. Half a century ago they would have had to teach or play in an orchestra, and their compositions would have made only a small though very welcome-contribution to their standard of living. Even now their works have little staying-power, and unless they produce new provincial successes at regular intervals their revenue sometimes drops very quickly. Their heirs in particular cannot expect much; the death of the composer is usually the end of his music too.

As I have said before, none of this quite follows the rules of ordinary commerce. Even with a total estimated expenditure by the public on music in all its forms-tickets for concerts and opera, records, musical instruments and licence-fees for radio and television sets, not counting the many places of entertainment where music is but one of the attractions offered-of several thousand million dollars a year, the share of composers, librettists and song-writers remains well below the normal commercial level. But the change in their financial situation is no less momentous than in the art itself If art and commerce are still not entirely reconciled, the 'amour des lettres' and the 'esprit des affaires' have at least found a method of living reasonably well together; even Beaumarchais would be satisfied.

When writing of copyright I made the point that many great works of art and literature were created long before the idea of protectable intellectual property was even conceived and that the absence of protection did not stifle creative genius nor its introduction promote it. So it is worth observing that the comparative affluence of the serious composer today, resulting from the complete protection of his works and the equally complete organization of his material interests, has done no harm to the art. If hunger was once a stimulant, opulence has not blunted the spirit of adventure in seeking new ways, a new art altogether. On the contrary it is during the last fifty years, the very period when conditions have been created to assure every successful work of its material reward, that serious composers have shown most indifference to the public and its taste-and to the financial benefit that could be derived from satisfying both. There is no sign of ideals being lost and sights lowered. On the contrary, it is reassuring to see music going its own way, unperturbed by any extra-artistic consideration.

However, those who expected the art itself to be better off may feel disappointed, for no benefit can be observed here which could be attributed to the protection and profitability of intellectual property.

 

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