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Is there really no demand for new Christmas music in US schools?

Recently I sent a secular Christmas song I had co-written with an American author to a US publisher, who warmly received this - in fact he was very complimentary about both the words and the music, and how well they conveyed the joyful spirit of the season.  However, he said that new Christmas music doesn't sell at all well, and that choral directors in American schools prefer to do arrangements of well-known carols and traditional Christmas songs. This came as something of a surprise to me.  I wonder if this feeling is shared among composers represented here.  (Needless to say he didn't offer to publish the piece, though I was very grateful to receive such a nice rejection letter!)
Replies (14): Threaded | Chronological
on May 13, 2014 11:34am
I find that hard to believe! I suggest you self-publish and self-promote - it's the wave of the future. Check out My Score at JW Pepper dot com!
It's the wave of the future just as self-published Kindle books are!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 13, 2014 12:13pm
That's a very helpful suggestion, Dianna.  I'd be interested to know what success others have had with self publishing and promoting via J W Pepper's My Score scheme, as compared with Composers'' Showcase or other methods.
on May 14, 2014 4:27am
I'm happy with MyScore - they don't promote the work, but your music does show up on their catalog searches and they take care of sales, distribution, and commission.  My performances are (probably in order) local groups who know me, folks who bought through MyScore after seeing something on ChoralNet / Showcase, and a few people who've stumbled across my own website and either emailed me or gone through JWPepper.
on May 14, 2014 8:09am
Good luck.   Are you a new user here?  You might consider some self-restraint!   Composers already have such a terrible time, no sense in annoying the directors and your peers by posting your wares everywhere you see a nook or cranny.   I refer to your postings of the same thing in 8-10 'communities'.   It shows up, but it also pushes out of view the earnest post by someone else. 
on May 14, 2014 8:43am
William, frankly, it's you who ought to show some self-restraint.  If you'd done a simple search of ChoralNet before posting, you'd have found that Gordon has posts here going back several years, and is a legitimate and established composer.  He posted an honest question and deserves honest replies, not moralizing from you.  It's Gordon's right to post his inquiry anywhere he wants.
Gordon, I apologize on behalf of the community of composers here for William's thoughtless and unfeeling response to you.  To return to your original question: Publishers (at least in the US) seem to be a risk-averse lot.  With a few exceptions, they tend not to take chances.  I've turned toward self-publishing, as have many here, in light of this fact, but I do see the merit in taking a balanced approach of publishing some pieces and self-publishing others.  I hope you find a suitable home for your Christmas piece.
Joseph Gregorio
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on May 14, 2014 9:04am
Hey, just read your posting, Joseph, and feel a little reassured...     Many thanks for your advice!
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on May 14, 2014 9:02am
Ah, sorry, William, if you think I’ve over-done it.  I just wanted to test the water in the schools’ market, since I was told it’s quite hard to get into.  As ChoralNet is divided into many communities, it seemed logical to seek out the ones particularly relevant to schools.  If you think I should delete some of these, I suppose I can, though perhaps any ‘harm’ is already done (though none intended, I assure you!)
Since I don’t have much experience of self-publishing, I do genuinely want to know the best way to approach this - whether through the J W Pepper scheme, Composers’ Showcase or whatever.
If I have antagonised any fellow users of ChoralNet, please accept my sincere apologies.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 14, 2014 9:08am
No need to apologize, Gordon -- you most certainly have NOT overdone it or antagonized anyone (except William, it seems)!  You have the right to ask any question pertinent to this forum that you want, and expect a decent reply instead of what you got.
Joseph Gregorio
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on May 15, 2014 4:10am
Well, if Joseph speaks for all, I must apologize.  I use the community summary block on the Choralnet home page regularly, to scan what if anything is happening in the many communities.  When so many showed Gordon's post and nothing else, I was momentarily annoyed: it takes a great deal longer to enter every community to see what's what. 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 15, 2014 4:47am
I'm still trying to get a handle on how these communities work. There seem to be so many that have very few current posts, and I don't know how often people check them. It did seem to make sense, therefore, to copy and paste my recent post into a few relevant communities.  Fwiw, this has generated just ONE response so far - so maybe you're right after all, William!  
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 15, 2014 3:25pm
Gordon, for future reference, I think what you were trying to do with all of the community postings can be accomplished with one post:  New Publications (under Announcements).  As I understand it, this kind of posting "bypasses" the community level and goes out to everyone on ChoralNet, in the daily post.  I am planning to post one for our new piece, after the recording becomes available.  I will send it to you privately first so that you can proofread it and make any comments before it is posted.
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on May 16, 2014 12:03pm
I have to say that seems very different to my situation. I have a Christmas Song that I wrote a number of years ago. It has been performed worldwide but I would say the vast majority have come from the States. I made a map of where the song had actually been sung and I think if you view it from 53 seconds in you'll find that it's very well supported in the States:

Hope this helps

on May 16, 2014 3:53pm
Hey, Dougie, I'm most grateful for your input - and from another citizen of the UK (well, at the moment!) And congratulations on the success of your song!  Soundcloud and youtube are very useful tools, but I feel sure your early success with the radio station and the children's choir must have played an important part in popularising the piece. Out of interest, did you find a publisher for the song, either at the beginning or after it had been recorded/broadcast? Or did you self-publish?
on May 17, 2014 6:55am
Hi Gordon,
Thank you! It's only recently that I have mentioned the initial radio station publicity to be honest. I actually haven't found a publisher for the song yet. Still talking to a few people but nothing concrete yet. Hard to believe a song that has had as much milage as this one is not published yet,I know! ( would feel more confident having a publisher who has the ability to take the song in other directions than doing it myself).
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