The Future of the Music Business, a book by Steve Gordon, published by BackBeat Books, San Francisco (2005), provides an excellent update on copyright legislation, and assesses the opportunities offered by the new digital technologies. The author, by way of interviews with various artists and entrepreneurs, encourages the sale of music over the internet and provides this interesting statistic from TowerGroup: in 2003, internet transactions for media, internet publishing services and digital music totaled $1.9 billion; it is estimated that this market will grow to $11.5 billion by 2009. With this in mind, we should all set up web sites to sell our tracks at 99 cents each.

However, I question whether classical music is really part of this potential boom. All the artists represented or described in the book are in the mainstream. For example, there is a lengthy interview with Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, one of the main online distributors of digital music, but as a classical composer, my experience with CD Baby has been quite different from what is described. My CD Waking in New York is currently available through CD Baby, but since 2003, only one copy was officially sold. This lack of sales could have several explanations: a) CD Baby is not where the classical music audience shops; b) the sample tracks available for free download may have somehow replaced the need to buy the actual CD and actually encourage piracy.

I would like to find a book about “the future of the classical music business”, which seems to be an entirely different beast.

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