musicnotes.com continues trend toward online publishing

Digital sheet music publisher Musicnotes.com has announced a distribution agreement with Warner Bros and Mel Bay. Warner Bros. Publications handles the imprints of thousands of titles printed by smaller publishing firms like Belwin Mills, Kalmus, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Studio P/R, Inc. Other publishers represented by Musicnotes include Theodore Presser, Boosey & Hawkes, and C. F. Peters.

Since the distribution agreements were reached, Musicnotes.com has posted approximately 7,000 new titles from Warner Bros. and approximately 500 from Mel Bay. Additional titles from both publishers are in the process of being prepared for downloading. The free Musicnotes Viewer allows musicians, educators, and fans to instantly see, hear, and print free sheet music samples. Customers can then purchase and download the entire piece of sheet music using a secure online commerce engine.

The current catalog is largely limited to piano, vocal, guitar, and organ music. At the moment there is little twentieth-century music available aside from pop music and several jazz titles. The company asserted that a planned expansion in the near future would incorporate an increased commitment to new American music. According to Tim Iversen, Director of Production and Development at Musicnotes.com, there are plans to develop a "sideline site" in the near future that would allow users to download contemporary classical music. Iversen stated that their low overhead costs will give them the freedom to make titles available that would ordinarily sell only a few print copies. The site would also provide an opportunity for self-published composers to post their scores. They are also planning to make choral and orchestral scores and parts available for downloading.

The Musicnotes Player allows potential customers to interact with a selected piece of music. The music notation and lyrics light up in time with the music, synchronizing note-for-note with either a MIDI performance or a real performance played from a CD. The user can change the speed of the piece in order to practice at any pace. As an educational aid, every symbol on the music page is linked to a music encyclopedia that enables the user to select a symbol and hear it or learn how to play it.