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Purchasing copies of compilation books

This may be a stupid question, but I'm taking that risk. Obviously, I know that if one is performing a song, one should purchase as many copies of the song as needed, rather than photocopying. What if the song you want to do is in a compilation book with multiple songs in it, such as the King's Singers put out from time to time? Or a collection of acappella araangements by Deke Sharon? It's one thing to purchase 40 copies of a song at $2 or so a copy, but the books can cost up to $9 or $10 apiece. It seems that it would be prohibitively expensive to shell out $350+ for potentially only one song. Which means that the composer/arranger isn't making any money anyway if people can't afford it.
I'm sure there is a very logical answer that is escaping me, which is why I am relying on all of you to point it out to me.
John Wright
on November 7, 2011 2:55pm
John:  There are no stupid questions!  There are sometimes stupid answer, and I've probably contributed my share!!
You've identified the problem.  But the only LEGAL solution is to request permission from the publisher to photocopy a specific piece, OR ask whether they can provide an offprint of a specific piece.  You can certainly ask, and they might actually answer, but they are under no obligation to say yes.
The same problem exists for any compilation, including the Oxford Book of Carols and similar publications.
All the best,
on November 7, 2011 3:17pm
I've run into this challenge a number of times and have frequently been able to pay the publisher of the collection for the rights to photocopy one piece from the book. If the publisher has a web site, you'll likely be able to find information on requesting permissions on the site and complete the process online. I've been charged anywhere from $ .85 to $1.50 per photocopy, depending on the length of the piece.
on November 7, 2011 8:31pm
I  have purchased several compliation books for my chamber choir.  I usually purchase a single copy to peruse and then, if I think I will use more than one piece, I will purchase a number of them.  The Oxford Book of Carols, the Oxford Book of Italian Madrigals and the Parker-Shaw Carols are titles I have bought within the last five years. I work my music budget  around those purchases if I have to.
If I think I would like one or two of the pieces, I might try to see if I can get single titles.  I have usually been able to find that "singleton" I doesn't make sense to buy the whole book--a good NUMBER of the same book--if I only want one piece and will only use one piece, ever.  Getting permission to copy is a good solution in that case.
on November 8, 2011 9:48am
Here at church we search to see if the publisher has produced that song as a 'stand alone' anthem and if not you go through their licensing and permissions department and receive permission to make your copies.  You keep the letter on file, and I keep a copy of that letter in the anthem storage box, so that there is no question about our copying it.  I've paid from .25 to 1.00 per copy for some anthems.  Also, when you make your copies you must include, on the cover, or on page 1 that you are doing it with permission, print the date, and the confirmation/license number.  I usually create an interesting Title Cover with that info.
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