Music Publishing and Distributing: An Introduction

Music Publishing and Distributing: Blog Post #1

Hello and welcome to my second installment of music blogs! My name is Zachary and I am currently a junior at Adams State University pursuing bachelor’s degrees in music business and general business. If you would like to know more about me please refer to the “About Me” tab at the top of this webpage. Inside you will find my full biography along with other related press materials. If you are interested, I also suggest that you take a look at my first series of blogs entitled, “Discovering New Artists and Music,” which details many methods for discovering new music, and includes web links to phenomenal featured artists. For my next segment of blogs, I will be conducting research and analyzing the development of music publishing and distributing methods starting with the advent of the printing press and continuing through to modern-day publish and distributing methods. As this blog series develops, expect to see topics ranging from how the printing press affected music publishing and distribution, the printed music market of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and descriptions of modern publishing and distribution companies. In addition, this blog will be interactive and include pictures, videos, and web links to external sources for further reading. The reason I elected to research the topic of music publishing and distribution is because I have recently begun to venture into the world of electronic music publishing myself. I am currently in the process of creating my own publishing company as part of another project requirement for the completion of my music business degree. For this reason, I thought it would be both interesting and beneficial to investigate the history and development of music publishing and distributing techniques for my music history project.

Before we discuss the printing press and its many influences, which will be outlined heavily in my next blog post, I would first like to cover some techniques on how books and sheet music were created before the invention of the printing press. Before the printing press, books would all have to be painstakingly created by hand. Books made entirely by hand are called manuscripts and a collection of manuscripts is referred to as a codex.[1] After the fall of the Roman Empire, Christianity began to rise. Monks, almost solely in a monastery scriptorium, completed the task of copying texts by hand. However, during the Renaissance, demands for books heavily increased, so the work of copying texts by hand shifted from monks to trained specialists. The size of various text copying operations ranged from a single individual to massive commercial production line operations in larger cities. Sometimes it would take a monk the course of several years to complete one manuscript, while a professional scribe who was paid per project, could finish a manuscript in a matter of a few days.[2] Paper was a Chinese invention and by the time the printing press was invented, the manufacturing techniques of paper had circulated across Europe. Once the printed press was invented, the world of printed materials was completely revolutionized and the practice of hand copying texts became antiquated and quickly faded. In my next blog post, I will discuss the advent of the printing press, its effects on music publishing and distribution, as well as the first book it ever printed, the Gutenberg Bible.

[1] Victoria Diane Horn, “Illuminated Manuscripts,” http://archives.pacscl.org. 2001. Accessed October 13, 2016, http://archives.pacscl.org/leaves/exhibit/learn/children/overview2.pdf.

[2] Horn, “Illuminated Manuscripts.”

Bibliography

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