Friday, 16 October 2009

Music To Your Ears

Ali Muirden wonders if there's a way for musicians and audiobook publishers to work together...

I’ve been reading a transcript of an interesting article broadcast on Radio 4 ‘s Today Programme this week where musician, Nick Cave discussed his love of audio books but was deploring the lack of imagination in the use of music to enhance the listening experience.

This is actually a very old chestnut and one that most publishers have been unable to crack over the last few years. The conundrum is that while most publishers would love to use music with abandon throughout some of their publications, the sheer scale of the cost of doing this and still allowing for a commercially competitive price point means the figures just never balance out!

It made me wonder whether there might be an opportunity here for struggling musicians to use audio publications (especially in download format) as a showcase for their talents? To show your skills off by creating a music score to fit a particular book must surely be a great way to let the world know what you’ve got to offer?

My husband Al and his talented band of musician mates are a great case in point. They spend hours of their spare time devotedly writing songs and creating their own unique music (some of which I love and some I loathe!) but which largely goes unappreciated in an internet sea of downloads and free radio content. Also not being of the age where they qualify to be the next “boy band” no doubt counts against them! Sorry boys! I know its harsh, but it is a valid point!

From time to time I have “pinched” some of their work and used it on audio books, usually paying them a small fee to compensate but which they appreciated more for the exposure it gave to them than for the actual money they got back in return.

Might this be something other musicians would be interested in? Would there be budding musical entrepreneurs who could see the value in doing a deal for their work which while it didn’t pay them a huge fee upfront gave them a great platform to launch their careers?

I don’t want to deny other established music composers the opportunity to sell their work for the normal commercial rates but it does seem to me this impasse is something that needs to be addressed and I just wonder if this might be a way of making it happen? - Ali Muirden

Tell us what you think!

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