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mysteriousmonkey29

Self Publishing Advice for Amateur Composer

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Hey everyone, I am an amateur piano composer. A few years ago I composed a series of solo piano pieces, one in each key. I wrote out all the sheet music, pretty meticulously, and made less meticulous recordings. I previously emailed a bunch of solo music publishers with a sample of my music, and one of them agreed to publish it, but  they eventually stopped responding to me (I got the impression that they were pretty busy).

 

Anyways, I have some free time right now, so I'm looking into trying to publish my music again. My current plan is to put the recordings on youtube and soundcloud, then link a place to purchase my sheet music. I just discovered a few sites that will publish your sheet music and give you some of the sales. I'm just wondering 1) if anyone has used any of these sites, and if so, which one(s) they reccomend, 2) if I've missed any good websites in this category, 3) if anyone has any advice regarding my general plan?

 

Here are the best websites I've found so far:

 

https://smppress.sheetmusicplus.com/

https://www.musicaneo.com/services/publish_sheet_music.html

http://www.arcomis.com/publishing/

https://www.scoreexchange.com/

 

For context, I have a day job, and am not at all worried about supporting myself from music sales. However, I thought it would be cool to get my music out there, and see if I could make any money in the process. I know a little about website development, but am shying away from this option due to the time commitment.

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by mysteriousmonkey29
grammar

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if anyone cares, I ended up putting the recordings on youtube/soundcloud, and the sheet music on sheet music plus (they seemed like the best established website in this category). After SMP and paypal fees, it sounds like I should get about 40% of whatever sells.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12xq4oFlsQ4&list=PLwtCBIRu3ZC2Iq56kw20E5kjc0CIk7AjM

https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/20758355

https://soundcloud.com/user-863189778

Best of luck to anyone reading this.

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Bandcamp probably pays the best royalties for recordings, Really Good Music for scores. Of course, the problem with these or any other sites is getting your music heard when you're competing with thousands of other composers for listeners' ears. Like you, I've also put videos of my music on Youtube, some of which have been viewed by literally dozens of people around the world. Hope to break 100 someday . . .

Anyway, good luck with your piano pieces. Hope you can get some takers.

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I knew if I searched I'd find a thread about self-publishing - something I've been thinking about for a long time. 

On 6/6/2018 at 1:51 PM, mysteriousmonkey29 said:

For context, I have a day job, and am not at all worried about supporting myself from music sales. However, I thought it would be cool to get my music out there, and see if I could make any money in the process. I know a little about website development, but am shying away from this option due to the time commitment.

I'm in the same position.  I gave up the idea long ago that I was ever going to support myself with composition.  I've made more from commissions than I'm ever likely to from sales.  I'm more interested in getting my music out there to people who will play and enjoy it.  I'd also rather not end up on the ash heap of history, completely unknown when I leave this plane of existence.  I have not utterly given up on establishing my own web presence, but I know nothing of website development, and the cost of having someone else put something together is prohibitive - and even once you have something up, how do you drive traffic to it if no one knows your name or anything about you?        

On 7/24/2018 at 7:21 AM, Glenn Simonelli said:

Of course, the problem with these or any other sites is getting your music heard when you're competing with thousands of other composers for listeners' ears.

Herein lies the problem, indeed.  How does one stand out from such a crowd?  I tried SheetMusicPlus, but there are so many thousands of composers and works on there that I despair of ever getting noticed.  I have not tried Really Good Music though, and I might give that a closer look.   

One option I have explored that perhaps people here have not considered is posting my stuff on IMSLP (The Petrucci Music Library) at https://imslp.org/In part because it's free, and also because it's a veritable treasure-trove, it's the first place a lot performers go to when they're looking for something, and IMSLP's "wiki" structure is such that one can search for works in a lot of different ways, including by style, genre, and instrumentation.  I have found stuff on there by obscure composers that I never would have found any other way - some of it existing only in manuscript copies, and never before published commercially.  Most of what's on there is in the public domain; but living composers are allowed to post their work in the database using something called a "Creative Commons License," which I gather allows people to use your music free of charge while you the composer retain the rights to the work.  I don't understand all the legalities involved, but I haven't really cared as long as I retain my rights to my music.  I only hope I'm right in my understanding.

I have uploaded several of my works on IMSLP, just as an experiment (my page is here:  https://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Graham,_J._Lee), and some of them have been downloaded hundreds of times, which is very exciting to me; the dissemination of my music in that kind of volume is some assurance that my recognition is growing.  Even more exciting are the performances I have received internationally that never would have happened had I not made my music openly available.  That I know of, my Duet for Viola and 'Cello has been performed twice, and has been included in a comprehensive listing of works for that instrumentation; and my Trio for English Horn, Viola, and Contrabass has been performed once - in Venezuela, of all places. 

At any rate, uploading to IMSLP is something to consider if you are looking for visibility but are not particularly concerned about making a buck.  

Does anybody know more about IMSLP and the "Creative Commons License" business?  If so, I'd be interested in learning more about it.               

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@J. Lee Graham

Interesting about IMSLP. I use it to find obscure pieces which I wouldn't have found otherwise. Do you have to pay for a subscription to upload your music to it?

I haven't really thought about self publishing. I had always thought if I was successful enough to be worth publishing I should go for a "real" publishing company 

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@aMusicComposer  I never paid a dime to upload my stuff, though they do request that you make a donation.  

14 hours ago, aMusicComposer said:

I haven't really thought about self publishing. I had always thought if I was successful enough to be worth publishing I should go for a "real" publishing company 

Yes, but there is never any guarantee of that, especially nowadays.  I'd rather get my stuff out there to the public by any means than wait until I'm famous, but to each his own, of course.  

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