Is the free dissemination of music on the Web ultimately helpful or harmful to the economics of new music? Amy Scurria, Composer

Amy Scurria
Amy Scurria
Photo by Phyllis Berger

mp3 – A Young Composer’s Perspective

Every young professional must at some point give more than they gain in return. Whether it be a beginning salary or a starting position, and all young professionals step out into the work force with the promise of growth and increased success. As a composer, I view mp3 as just another tool to be used for marketing and exposure. For the first time in history, we have the capability to provide sound bytes for listeners around the world. To me, it’s absolutely and undeniably exciting!!

I’ve had some fellow composers question my choice to upload my music to mp3 with the fears that somehow I am giving my music away for free. But, to some degree, you have to do some of that when you are first beginning. Would I be better off with my pieces sitting in my apartment with me gathering dust? Of course, I wouldn’t! Music is meant to be LISTENED TO and that is the very reason that I write. I believe that I have something worth saying and hope that somehow the sounds that I produce will be a gift. With a wonderful publisher (Theodore Presser), an active composing life, and an increased opportunity to be heard, there is certainly a hope for future return. If I were on a major label at this point, I would probably not see any more money from the CD sales as I do from mp3.com. What I would see would be increased exposure and opportunity, which is exactly what mp3.com provides for me. A composer makes money primarily from performances and commissions. So far, having my music on the web has lead to an increase in both of those areas. The music that I have on mp3.com is NOT the last music that the world will hear from me. In fact, it is only my beginning. Will I be on mp3.com forever? I hope not. I quite honestly prefer hearing my works in the concert hall. But for now, it’s a great tool to gain further exposure.

My passion, my love, my world, my everything has been to write music. Since my earliest memory at three years old, I have loved and lived for music. I have prayed and prayed and prayed my whole life for the chance to have people listen to what I create and what I will create in the future. Suddenly they are, and are able to listen! Why in heaven would I hinder that? Surviving in the world of music is difficult, yes, but it is an exciting journey!! I will always compose with my pen, paper, and piano: nothing new. But to ignore the possibilities that today’s technology can provide, I simply cannot!