Allen's post yesterday about the "print on demand" problem with a publisher reminded me of a two great experiences I have had lately with online publishers. They have different business models but both offer superb service:
First, Saint James Music Publishing. For a yearly fee of $139, I have access to every piece of music on the SJMP site. I can look at it, hear it on an MP3, and download it. If I want, I can download their entire catalog. I am free to produce as many copies as I want of every anthem for one price. An incredible deal. If you are a church musician, I recommend it.
Next, Selah Publishing. There is much to like about this company as well. They have a liturgical calendar that makes it easy for me to find titles of possible pieces. When I click on a work, I often have a chance to download a "review" copy of the anthem as well as listen to it. A few days ago, there was not a "review" copy. I emailed the company on their and got a PDF version of the work the next day – from the company president. Talk about service!
As far as I am concerned, these two companies are pointing the way to the future. Choral directors want:
1. Access to PDF versions of your entire catalog (either full works or partial). And for Pete's sake, don't just show me the first page!
2. Immediate delivery. I'm not trying to steal anything, guys. I just want it fast. Emailed. Immediately.
3. Recordings help. But not necessary in my opinion.
4. Reasonable price. Don't charge me 2.50 per copy if I am printing it myself. Let me pay you $25 for as many copies as I want to print.
5. Fair compensation to the composer. This 10% model is horrible and an unfair remnant of past business models. They are the creator of the work and deserve more than what they've been getting.