The 2014 Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence were announced during the 2014 annual meeting of the Music Publishers Association at the East Side Marriott in New York City. Among the first-prize winners in 13 separate award categories (ranging from educational folios to piano and guitar solos to choral and full orchestra scores) were publications containing music by William Bolcom, Daniel Dorff, Avner Dorman, Mohammed Fairouz, Nancy Galbraith, Alex Mincek, Joni Mitchell, John Musto, Steve Reich, and Christopher Rouse. Two scores by Eric Ewazen were among the 2014 winners. (The awards are named in honor of American Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere, who was a printer by profession.)
In addition, MPA Legal Counsel James M. Kendrick presented Frances Richard of ASCAP—whom he described as “the single most influential person for composers, publishers, and musicians”—with the MPA Arnold Broido Award for Copyright Advocacy, and MPA Second Vice President Lauren Keiser presented Music Sales Owner and Chairman Robert Wise—whom he called “the greatest publisher among us”—with the MPA Lifetime Achievement Award. A complete list of the 2014 Revere winners appears below.
Solos, With or Without Accompaniment
Cover Design Featuring Photography
Cover Design Featuring Graphic Elements
Book Design in Popular Folios
Book Design in Educational Folios
Publications for Electronic Distribution
Metropolitan Opera Chief Librarian Robert Sutherland, who chairs the Paul Revere Awards committee, announced the winners. The adjudicators for the 2014 awards were: New York Philharmonic Principal Librarian Lawrence Tarlow; graphic designer Dennis Suplina; composer/music editor Philip Rothman of New York Music Services; and composer George Boziwick, chief of the music division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. As in previous years, an exhibition of the award-winning scores will tour music libraries across the nation from September to May.
In addition to the presentation of awards, there were a variety of speakers at the 2014 MPA Annual Meeting. Natalie Madaj, legal counsel to the Music Publishers Association and the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), provided an update on the two organizations’ joint Anti-Theft Program. The goal of the program is to remove unlicensed reproduction of lyrics and music from websites and to work with sites to properly license lyrics and music under copyright when they are posted online. There are currently 37 participating publishers involved with this program which, according to Madaj, provide access to 2500 of the most popular compositions. In the past year, they have issued 10,000 take down notices. In the coming year, they plan a greater focus on mobile applications, tracking new technology to weed out infringing content from user-uploaded sites, and to increase publisher participation in the program.
Elwyn Raymer, who currently serves as executive director for the Action Fund of the Church Music Publishers Association (CMPA), gave a presentation about his Nashville-based organization and his desire for it to work more closely with the rest of the music industry. Sam Mosenkis, legal counsel to ASCAP, gave a report about recent legislative and judicial developments that could have a significant impact on the ability to accrue income from the creation and performance of music. Two laws currently under consideration are the RESPECT Act (named after Aretha Franklin’s hit recording), which would require webcasters to pay royalties for recordings made before the year 1972, and the Songwriter’s Equity Act, which would ensure fair remuneration to creators and their publishers via mechanical licenses and allow performing rights societies to look at those licenses. According to Mosenkis, there is currently a “14 to 1 disparity” between payments made by online music disseminators to recording labels and the creators of the music and their publishing representatives. Mosenkis argued that there needs to be a significant reform of the copyright law, which hasn’t been changed since the 1970s, since now, under the current laws, “it’s impossible to get fair rights set by the rate court.”
Lauren Keiser spoke about the MPA’s initiative to document its history. It is a long history; the MPA was founded in 1895 and it is actually the oldest trade organization in the United States. Among the highlights of the organization’s history up to 1933 (which is how far they’ve gotten in the process of sorting through the archives): As early as 1897, The New York Times reported the MPA’s success at stopping a group of “songsharks” based in Canada which had been distributing pirated sheet music through the mail. In 1927, Harold Flanner, the then-president of the MPA, attempting to maintain music’s position in the fine arts and horrified by the notion that it was becoming relegated to the background with the rise of radio, claimed, “Radio made music too easy to obtain and thus consequently too little appreciated.” Keiser pointed out the parallels between the rise of radio and the current ascendancy of digital technologies, acknowledging that “when a new technology comes along, we have to make social and philosophical paradigm shifts.”
There was a lively exchange during a panel discussion in the afternoon entitled “Working Together to Address the Needs of the Digital Market.” The panel featured: musical theatre composer-lyricist collaborators Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan, who distribute their scores online; composer/music director Or Matias; Garden City high school teacher Jim P. McCrann; Jane Gottlieb, VP Library and Information Resources, Juilliard; and Sean Patrick Flahaven, SVP Theatre & Catalog, Warner Chappell Music, who served as the moderator. While everyone on the panel advocated for digital scores, their usage of them varied extensively. Mathias now only uses digital sheet music. He described how he made the transition:
I was of the mind that nothing would ever replace paper. Then one day I was carrying around a score of Mahler’s 2nd and my bag broke. I went out and bought an iPad and started exploring. The first time you read music from an iPad it’s daunting, but once you get used to it the advantages become immense. I’m currently carrying around 7000 pieces of music, all of which are paid for. Now I conduct every concert from the iPad and I play every gig with it; I even use a foot pedal to turn the pages. But I haven’t found the perfect software yet, and I turn off the accessibility function.”
Kerrigan stated that she and Lowdermilk have completely abandoned selling printed sheet music. “It’s much easier to push out a rewrite,” said Lowdermilk. Although Lowdermilk admitted that he is still somewhat afraid of using digital sheet music in performance since computers can crash. According to Gottlieb, though Juilliard has been actively using digital sheet music files, they still acquire lots of printed sheet music. According to McCrann, classroom educators and schools have been extremely slow adaptors: 90% of music teachers still use printed scores in performances by their students; 36% do not use digital sheet music at all. From their point of view, the start-up costs for using these technologies are prohibitive, but he claimed they’d love to make the transition since students are less likely to lose a tablet than their band folders; so “if the publishers would supply the tablets, they’d use them in a heartbeat.”
In addition, there was a screening of a selection of the most outstanding videos promoting copyright awareness submitted by students for the MPA Copyright Awareness Scholarship; the prize-winning videos are given cash prizes and posted to the MPA website. The day’s activities ended with a reception featuring live jazz performed by the Scott Colburg Trio.