Site increases access to music scores, raises concern for publishers

Posted on: February 22, 2011

In Tuesday’s (2/22) New York Times, Daniel J. Wakin writes, “Humanity’s musical treasures—Beethoven piano sonatas, Schubert songs, Mozart symphonies and the like—come to life in performance. But they truly survive as black marks on a page, otherwise known as scores. Now a Web site founded five years ago by a conservatory student, then 19 years old, has made a vast expanse of this repertory available, free. The site, the Internet Music Score Library Project, has trod in the footsteps of Google Books and Project Gutenberg and grown to be one of the largest sources of scores anywhere. It claims to have 85,000 scores, or parts for nearly 35,000 works, with several thousand being added every month. … The site (imslp.org) is an open-source repository that uses the Wikipedia template and philosophy, ‘a visual analogue of a normal library,’ in the words of its founder, Edward W. Guo, the former conservatory student. … While a boon to garret-living, financially struggling young musicians, the library has caught the attention of music publishers. ‘I don’t know if I would call it a threat, but I do believe it hurts sales,’ said Ed Matthew, a senior promotion manager at G. Schirmer in New York. ‘It is that profit that helps us to continue to bring out more composers’ work.’ ”

Posted February 22, 2011