Fit To Print: A “Hyperhistory” of the Current State of American Music Publishing

European publishers of classical music have historically been represented by American firms rather than establishing their own offices and distribution facilities. In 1977, two of Europe’s most distinguished music publishers, the Mainz-based Schott and the Vienna-based Universal Edition, decided to try something new: operating a jointly-owned agency to represent all of their North American interests. They purchased the American print music dealer and publisher Joseph Boonin, Inc., incorporating the existing print music catalog and distribution operation into a newly-renamed company, European American Music Distributors Corporation (EAMDC), with Ronald Freed appointed as President shortly thereafter. EAMDC also created its own American publishing house, divided into two imprints to accommodate the two leading American performing rights societies: European American Music Corporation (for ASCAP composers) and Helicon (for composers belonging to BMI).

In August 1999, EAMDC began a joint venture with Warner-Chappell, who hold the publishing rights to a vast body of American popular music, creating European American Music Distributors Limited Liability Corporation (EAMDLLC), resulting in a symbiotic relationship where EAMDC handles all rentals and Warner-Chappell takes care of sales. In order to accommodate this expansion, EAMDLLC relocated from Valley Forge PA to the Warner Brothers Distribution Center in Miami FL. And future plans include the opening of an office in New York City.

“We can now offer our customers one stop shopping,” says Sue Sinclair, EAMDLLC’s Director of Product Development and Marketing who noted that many orchestras interested in composers with a diverse catalog combining concert, film and popular works, such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold or Kurt Weill, could now get all of the material from a single source. The Warner-Chappell catalog is an enviable addition to an already blockbuster-loaded catalog which includes Carl Orff‘s Carmina Burana, and Joaquin Rodrigo‘s Concierto de Aranjuez.

The music of Kurt Weill, whose centenary on March 2 will be celebrated around the world, benefits greatly from the new joint venture since Universal Edition is the publisher of most of the concert works he composed in Europe and Warner-Chappell holds the copyrights for the songs he composed for Broadway after emigrating to America. Perhaps no composer is a better fit for a label called European American! And, as Sinclair points out, “According to WCBS-FM, Weill’s “Mack The Knife” sung by Bobby Darin is the Number One Song of the 20th century.”

In addition to continuing the successes of these legendary figures from the early 20th century, EAMDLLC actively promotes its roster of prominent American composers, which includes Robert Beaser, John Duffy, Kamran Ince, Stephen Paulus, Bernard Rands, Joseph Schwantner, Alvin Singleton, and Morton Subotnick, who are helping to define the music of our time. Sinclair noted with pride that EAMDLLC’s “unique collection of composers are being performed on a nightly basis throughout the world.”

From Fit To Print: A “Hyperhistory” of the Current State of American Music Publishing
by John Robinson
© 2000 NewMusicBox

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