…got an email from a music publisher. Which was kind of exciting, don’t get me wrong. I had visions of my mom proudly telling her friends that her little boy was a published composer! The email went a little something like this:
(Yes. My desktop matches my website. And my Twitter. I’m that guy. I know.)
So, the email was mostly positive, but something about it made me…um…skeptical. It made me suspicious that this guy wasn’t exactly above board. I visited his site (which I blocked out of the picture, out of being nice to the guy), and the design was dismal. Now, part of me feels like this guy shouldn’t be judged by his lack of web skills. But then again, I have no web skills, and my website doesn’t look nearly as bad as his (unless you ask Karl about it!). And anyway, it’s 2013, and if you want to sell my crap on your website, I think that your website shouldn’t look like a Geocities site from 1995:
(I should totally roll this out as my website’s new look! You can do this to whatever website you want by going here.)
That said, I feel like publishers in the age of self-publishing are largely irrelevant. That, or they’re out to make some money off of the idealistic young composers constantly being turned out, preying upon their egos with the ability to say, “My publisher is _________.” I’m sure my mom would love that I got a publisher, but would she love the fact that I might be giving up all of my mechanical rights to my artwork in return for some shitty returns?
It’s really tough to figure out whether or not publishers aren’t predatory, even if they’re nice people. I couldn’t figure out if this guy was the real deal or not, so I did email him back, and asked to see a copy of his standard contract so that I could go over it. I don’t know if this was correct protocol or not, but my instincts tell me, “better safe than sorry!”
Do any of the more experienced composers out there have any advice about publishers that they’d be willing to share? It’s a little-talked-about subject, and feels too much like a decision one should make rationally, that often turns out to be made emotionally.