Self-Published Composers Explain What They Do and Why Andrew Rudin

Self-Published Composers Explain What They Do and Why Andrew Rudin

Andrew Rudin
photo courtesy of Skåne Hill Music

Somewhere in a warehouse in the Midwest, hundreds of copies of a work I wrote for flute & piano lie sequestered by a major American music publisher. After contracting to publish the work, three years elapsed before engraving was accomplished and 1st proofs offered. Another year and a half passed as I attempted in 2nd & 3rd proofs to correct errors. Finally after another six months the work was released for sale, complete with errors, some thrice corrected. Beyond announcing the work in its newsletter the publisher made no attempt to connect the work to potential buyers or performers, or in fact to distribute it to the inventories of even the most well-known music sellers. The fee paid to me upon contract was in the low hundreds, my royalties beginning only if the work went into a second printing. I received six “free” copies as a courtesy. Convincing interested performers, libraries, etc. that the work existed at all required that I be able to tell them the exact publication number of the item. Rather than being made “public” I feel rather as if the work is being held hostage.

Why should I not then find a way to make available my own compositions? And so I established Skåne Hill Music. Today, armed with good music notation software, quality paper, a xerox machine capable of 8-1/2 X 11 double-sided printing (or off-set lithography), and Internet access, any composer can surmount the pitfalls of commercial publishers. All that is missing is the alleged prestige of being represented (if that is the word) by a well-known name in the industry. And, if mistakes occur, they are your mistakes, correctible at the next printing.

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