How Much Do We Value Music?

December 12, 2023 - By 
A sheet music score spread out on a table with a pen lying on top

As people involved with music for their livelihoods it surely follows that we should also value the music we use at the highest level – and by extension all those involved in writing it.

It is therefore somewhat disappointing when we hear about events and music leaders trying to get away with obtaining the music they use without paying the proper price for it.

ChoirCommunity is a digital download music site so we rely on trust more than most places to ensure that our rights owners, composers and arrangers get the appropriate recognition and reward for the work they do when our music is sold.

We are sure (and are extremely grateful) that the vast majority of our customers recognise this and buy the correct number of ‘copies’ (really licences) of our music to cover the number of singers using our arrangements, but it has been brought to our attention that a recent event ignored this and clearly tried to get away without paying for the appropriate licences, even after having been alerted once.

The system which we have for music licencing in this country which by nature must rely on trust – and is therefore in reality easy to cheat – can only work if the consequences of abusing that trust are serious. For too long an attitude of ‘laissez-faire’, allowing this to take place without any consequences has enabled this to continue.

We believe that only by calling this out and not looking the other way when it happens can change this and enable the choral music scene to thrive.

So this is something of a call to action (and a request for a discussion) about a matter we feel strongly about. We would like to point out that ChoirCommunity is not itself a ‘money-making’ venture. In the five years since we started, we have not paid salaries to anyone involved in setting up or running the site – only royalties to the musicians who submit the arrangements which are available to purchase and download.

We should also state that the issue which was brought to our attention has been put right and the proper licences paid for, but we feel it is still a sign that we, as a community, are not doing enough to ensure that music, the lifeblood of our livelihoods, is not valued as it should be.

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