New Music News Wire

Copyright Royalty Board Establishes New Rates for Downloads

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The copyright symbol (image released into the public domain)

On October 2, 2008, the Copyright Royalty Board of the United States (CRB) announced rates that must be paid to composers and publishers as part of compulsory mechanical licenses for recordings of music that are physically distributed (CDs, LPs, etc.) and digitally-distributed (on-demand streams, limited downloads, and permanent downloads), as well as for recordings of music that appear on ringtones, which will be set for the next five years. The CRB has kept the rate at 9.1 cents per unit sold for both physically-distributed recordings and permanent downloads. A rate of 24 cents for each ringtone was also established. This is the first time the CRB—a group of three administrative judges appointed by the U.S. Librarian of Congress (currently Chief Copyright Royalty Judge James Scott Sledge, Stanley Wisniewski, and William J. Roberts)—has ever established compulsory royalty rates for music used in ringtones or distributed digitally. The announcement is the culmination of a trial that began this year in January in which the rights of composers and publishers were represented by the National Music Publisher’s Association (NMPA), along with the Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA).

A mechanical license grants individuals and companies the permission to record music that is not theirs and not in the public domain; it is an arrangement with that music’s copyright holder which is required by law in order to legally create copies of a performance of that music. In the United States, most mechanical licenses are negotiated through the Harry Fox Agency, which was established in 1927 by the NMPA to act as an information source, clearinghouse, and monitoring service for licensing musical copyrights. The 9.1 cent rate, which will now be in effect through 2013, was established by the CRB as of January 1, 2006. According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal, this will be the first time in three decades that the rate will not increase for such a long period of time. The rate was first set at two cents back in 1900, a rate that stayed the same until 1977. But since then, the rate had been gradually increasing every two or three years.

According to the Harry Fox Agency, the new schedule of mechanical rates, which will be in effect after final publication in the Federal Register until December 31, 2012, is as follows:

  • Physical recordings: 9.1¢ for recordings five minutes or less; for recordings over 5 minutes, 1.75¢ for each minute, rounded up.

  • Permanent digital downloads: 9.1¢ for recordings five minutes or less; for recordings over 5 minutes, 1.75 ¢ for each minute, rounded up.

  • Mastertone ringtones: 24¢ (mono- and polyphonic ringtones are not included)

  • Rates for limited downloads and on-demand streams vary by service offering. A chart from which exact rates can be calculated is included on a press release announcing the new rates that has been posted to the Harry Fox Agency web site.

André Previn Receives Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award

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André Previn
Photo courtesy G. Schirmer/Music Sales

André Previn has been honored with the 2008 Classic FM Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award. The announcement was made at the annual Classic FM Gramophone Awards luncheon at London’s Dorchester Hotel on September 25, 2008.

Previn, whose musical activities span the role of conductor, pianist (both classical and jazz), and composer in a broad range of musical genres (from Broadway musicals and film scores to chamber and orchestral works), will turn 80 on April 6, 2009. Next week, on October 2, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under Mr. Previn’s direction, will premiere his new work, Owls. In addition, Previn’s second opera, Brief Encounter, a commission from the Houston Grand Opera, will be premiered in Houston in five performances from May 1-9, 2009. In the spring, Carnegie Hall will present four concerts that highlight the diversity of Previn’s career thus far: a performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra for which he will both conduct and perform as soloist (April 7, 2009), a performance by the Previn Jazz Trio (February 29, 2009), an evening of his compositions performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and soprano Renée Fleming (April 26, 2009), and a chamber music concert with Anne-Sophie Mutter, cellist Lynn Harrell, and Previn at the piano, featuring the world premiere of his new trio (April 22, 2009).

Previous recipients of Gramophone’s Lifetime Achievement Award include Carlo Bergonzi, Montserrat Caballé, Charles Mackerras, Menahem Pressler, and Leontyne Price. In addition, violinist Hilary Hahn was named Artist of the Year, and a Hyperion disc of Samuel Barber songs performed by baritone Gerald Finley and pianist Julius Drake received the award for best solo vocal recording.

Sherisse Rogers wins 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition

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Sherisse Rogers

Sherisse Rogers has been named the winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition for Transitions for big band and string quartet. Awarded annually (except for 2001) since 1993 by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz as part of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition established in 1987, the Composers Award is presented to a composer who best demonstrates originality, creativity, and excellence in jazz composition. The winner receives a $10,000 grand prize award and the opportunity to perform the winning composition. Rogers will receive the award in a ceremony at Los Angeles’s Kodak Theatre on October 26, 2008.

Rogers, born in Philadelphia in 1978, was surrounded by music at an early age. Her father, a singer and church organist, began to teach her to play the piano at age 7. By the time she was in the fourth grade, she had taken up the alto saxophone and began to play in concert band. In the eighth grade, she joined the jazz band and discovered the music of Charlie Parker which began a lifelong love of jazz. Her fascination with composing and arranging for large ensembles began as a college undergrad, when she was playing bass in the big band at California State University in Northridge. Her own big band, Project Uprising, released its debut CD, Sleight of Hand, in 2004. At the age of 30, she has already been a two-time winner of the ASCAP Foundation’s Young Jazz Composer Competition as well as the recipient of the BMI’s 6th Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize, the ASCAP/IAJE Emerging Composer Award, and the 2007 Meet The Composer Van Lier Fellowship. She was one of three young composers for big band profiled by NewMusicBox in October 2006.

Sherisse Rogers is the first woman ever to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition and the first-American born composer to win the award since 2002. Previous winners include Patrick Zimmerli (who won the first prize in 1993), Jack Perla, and Russian-born New York-based composer/pianist Misha Piatigorsky.

Glass vs. Boulez

Conductor Dennis Russell Davies will defend composer Philip Glass as part of a BBC Radio 4 Program which pits Glass against French composer Pierre Boulez who will be championed by British jazz musician Courtney Pine. The broadcast, which will air on Saturday, October 4 is the fifth in a seven-part series titled Visionaries which debates the merits of classical music composers. Presented by BBC Radio 4’s Francine Stock, inspirational composers from different eras are pitted against each other in the quest to find the supreme classical music visionary. Previous episodes included Bach against Handel and Mozart against Beethoven. The final program will be a reprise of all the featured composers including a discussion amongst the advocates about their chosen composer and the winner will be revealed. For more details, visit Visionaries‘ website; for complete schedule information, visit the website for BBC World News.

Blog Created to Remember Composer Denise Broadhurst (1970-2008)

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Denise Broadhurst

A blog has been set up in memory of 38-year-old composer, pianist, singer, and teacher Denise Broadhurst who died on September 19, 2008 after battling breast cancer. Broadhurst, born in Minnesota in 1970, composed both vocal and instrumental works. Her compositions include: a Sonatina for flute and piano; a Scherzo for violin and piano; suites for unaccompanied bassoon and cello; Not Waving, But Drowning, a setting of a Steve Smith poem for narrator, solo saxophone, and electronics, which has been widely performed by Demetrius Spaneas; and the song “Reflections” which has been recorded by soprano Helene Williams and Leonard Lehrman for Capstone Records on a disc devoted to members of the Long Island Composers Alliance. She also sang on a recording of music by Perry Townsend (also released by Capstone), taught as an Assistant Professor of Music at Nassau Community College and earlier as an adjunct at Hosftra University, and was the recipient of the State University of New York’s Chancellor Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Broadhurst Family has established a Denise Broadhurst Memorial Scholarship at Nassau Community College Foundation.

7th Annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days Set for October 2008

The seventh Annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days—a global network of concerts dedicated to “Harmony for Humanity”—are currently taking place throughout the month of October 2008, to coincide with what would have been the 45th birthday (October 10) of the slain Wall Street Journal reporter and musician. Last year, artists representing every musical genre performed more than 500 concerts in 42 countries, spanning five continents.

On February 22, 2002, a day after the world learned that Daniel Pearl had been brutally murdered by his captors in Pakistan, conductor George Pehlivanian, Pearl’s neighbor and friend from Paris, was scheduled to lead the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra as a guest conductor. Deeply troubled by the news, he was initially reluctant to perform; instead, he decided to dedicate the concert to Daniel Pearl. After Pearl’s funeral in August 2002, in the spirit of his love for music, his family decided to inspire hope and unity by inviting people everywhere to dedicate a musical event on the day he would have turned 39 years old, October 10, 2002. Since then, annual concert events in memory of Pearl have been expanding, culminating thus far in this year’s month-long Daniel Pearl World Music Days, which is billed as an “awareness raiser,” not a fundraiser.

The honorary committee for the World Music Days includes jazz pianist/composer Herbie Hancock, country/bluegrass fiddler and singer Alison Krauss, North Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar, Iranian traditional singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian, composer/conductor John Williams, the rock band R.E.M., Barbara Streisand, and composer Steve Reich, whose Daniel Variations is dedicated to Daniel Pearl.

For a complete schedule of this year’s concert events and additional information, visit the Daniel Pearl World Music Days website.

(Compiled and Edited by Frank J. Oteri)

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