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OT: funding a CD production (USA vs Europe)
Last post Sat, Sep 20 2008 by P_C, 5 replies.
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Posted on Fri, Sep 19 2008 08:32
by A.S.
Joined on Fri, Mar 30 2007, Posts 177

A little question out of curiosity:

Is it common in the US that a composer finance a CD recording of his/her music with own funds?

I was contacted by an american production company who wondered if they could record my orchestral music. First I couldn't understand why they have contacted me at all. My orchestral music is available on hire from my publisher for anyone, and their US agent is Boosey & Hawkes so it's not like it's hard to find. After some e-mail correspondence it turned out they wanted me to finance this recording with my own funds(!). Is this really a common deal for composers in the US?

My chamber music is currently available on 5-6 different CDs and a portrait CD with my music will be released later this fall. The total cost for the portrait CD was approx. $20.000 and was partlly funded by the National Council for Cultural Affairs. The rest of the cost was payed by the record company. I haven't payed one cent. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever heard of a composer of orchestral concert music in Europe that has funded anything in a CD production. In Europe, at least to my knowledge, it's the record company, not the composer, that seeks funds for a CD production.

I can understand if an aspiring film composer wants to record some music with a real orchestra to get more gigs. Or for a composer of concert music that doesn't get his music played. But I already have a record deal! With a company that funds everything.

Frankly, I was a bit insulted by this proposition. But maybe I'm just touchy...

Posted on Fri, Sep 19 2008 15:15
by fcw
Joined on Wed, May 11 2005, UK, Posts 153

Sounds like some kind of weird vanity publishing company for composers, who were looking to turn you into a customer.

Posted on Fri, Sep 19 2008 18:32
by A.S.
Joined on Fri, Mar 30 2007, Posts 177

I really don't know much about this company, but they might be fantastic in recording and producing orchestral music.

The thing that irritates me is that they contact composers via e-mail and make it sound like they are offering a record deal. They even praised my orchestral music and "impressive career". How could that really matter? If I were to pay for a complete CD recording I find it hard to believe they would deny producing my music, even if I was a complete unknown composer and wrote the worst music ever written.

I also think it's very odd that they expect a professional composer to fund his own CD. For me it's like offering a violinist to play Tchaikovsky's Violin concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra and then go: "But you have to pay the salaries for the musician in the orchestra. And the rent for the Concert Hall of course." (well, maybe not excactly the same but you get my point)

Can anyone from the US confirm if this as a typical deal for american composers? (I assume John Adams and Philip Glass doesn't fund their own CDs but is it a common deal for those composers who are professional but not "world famous"?)

And as I said before, this really doesn't matter for me personally. I'm just curious.

Posted on Fri, Sep 19 2008 18:34
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5722

That is ridiculous!  Sounds like a scam to me.

The only thing somebody would ever pay for is independent self-publishing or actually hiring an orchestra.  Anything else is bullshit and probably criminal. 

Posted on Sat, Sep 20 2008 18:03
by P_C
Joined on Mon, Sep 24 2007, Norway, Posts 154

You should never ever sign recording deal that will be costing you money out of your own pocket.

That by definition defies the whole purpose and idea of having a record company to begin with, u know.

Maybe its not a scam, but its sure as hell not a good record deal either...

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