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Digital Print Profit Comparison

Replies (10): Threaded | Chronological
on June 2, 2014 4:09pm

40% on digital copies for Pepper, plus a fee to join the program.
What's really nice about the Pepper program is the fact that they professionally print octavos - yes, you have to do your own layout and design, but the end product is as nice as you can get.
Pepper is not exculsive, so you can do both. :)
on June 3, 2014 12:46am
This looks really interesting.  As I understand it, both schemes grant non-exclusive rights, so you don't have to assign the copyright to them, but are still free to explore other outlets, including regular publishers.  On the face of it, the SMP program would seem to offer a better deal, as it is free and therefore seems to eliminate any risk. I don't know how the two companies compare in other respects, but it might take a long time for the small composer to recover JWP's initial $99 outlay, let alone make any income, even if their product looks a little more professional.
What would be realy helpful would be to have some comments from people who have used either (or both) of these services, with some feedback on their comparative merits.
on June 3, 2014 11:56am
As a composer of choral music, since January 2013 I am a user of the Sheet Music Plus's digital publishing program.  First of all, let me say that I highly appreciate these kind of services, a very good alternative to offer our scores.  Before of taking the decision to subscribe my music to the Sheet Music Plus's digital publishing program I have study very carefully all the other alternatives and the two more attractive to me were Sheet Music Plus and Jwpepper.  I am also a Choral conductor and I highly appreciate Jwpepper; I usually buy at JWP all the score I need for my activity as a choral conductor (excellent service and very fast: Chapeau for them!).  In order to offer my scores they had been my choice without blinking an eye, but what has made me take the final decision for Sheet Music Plus was the one-time charge of $99 to participate in the JWP My Score program and the annual fee of $25: Both of those charges does not exist on the program of Sheet Music Plus; so, your profits (if your score are sold) are more straightforward and fast.
Let me say now that I have had some issues with Sheet Music Plus when the time came to pay my royalties: It has been a delay of around 2 month to pay them… They had finally paid them, but the around of 10 email of reclamation without giving me a real answer (that has finally came) has makes me consider its program decent but not enough…

Brief, I think that if JWP were willing to revise those 2 fees that SMP does not have, they surely will have more composer on their My Score program.

Eduardo Andrés Malachevsky
choral conductor & composer
- eam on YouTube
- eam WEB
- eam SoundCloud
- eam scores - sheetmusicplus 
- eam Facebook
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on June 3, 2014 2:16pm
Others have already responded to Jack's specific question about how the commisison paid by SheeMusicPlus (45%) compares to that paid by JWPepper (40%).  The big difference is that JWPepper charges an annual fee to participate in their program, whereas SheetMusicPlus does not.
Because of that fee, I have not tried the JWPepper program.
I have, however, been using the SheetMusicPlus program for the better part of the past year.  Until recently, the chief problem with their system for choral composers was that the minimum price per piece as $3.99, which simply wasn't practical for most choral music.  For that reason, I have so far listed only instrumental works with SheetMusicPlus.  The BIG news is that they have now lowered the minimum price to $1.99, so now SheetMusicPlus has become a practical option for choral music.
A brief report on my experience with SheetMusicPlus so far:  I have had a few sales each month, which has encouraged me to post more scores with them, and with the reduction of the minimum price I will soon be posting choral scores.  Their system for uploading scores is fairly simple and straightforward, but they are very slow in processing new additions to the catalog, and some new files get lost and don't ever get posted, so it becomes necessary to resubmit a score.  Their interface for managing your scores is quite awkward, but they have recently updated it which has improved it somewhat.  Just recently they added the capacity to edit a listing, which is important (but even the edits go through a lengthy "processing" process that takes more than a week for the update to go "live").  Unfortunately, you are still not able to update the PDF for a score, so if any revisions or updates to a score are needed, it is necessary to delete the whole listing and start all over.  My main issue with them is that it takes weeks to get a new score posted, whereas with the other comparable systems (CadenzaOne and MusicaNeo), this process is usually completed within 24 hours.  That said, I have had many more sales on SheetMusicPlus than on CadenzaOne or MusicaNeo, so it appears they have a much larger customer base.  
With regard to Gordon's comments about copyright:  the JWPepper program, the SheetMusicPlus program, CadenzaOne and MusicaOne all act as retailers, NOT as publishers of your work.  You remain your own "publisher," and you keep your copyright and the right to sell through other "retailers."  Your publishing dba should continue to get the publishing half of performance royalties.
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on June 3, 2014 6:35pm
Hello, all:
Strongly suggest interested composers/directors investigate the new free download at Musical America's site (, called "Music Publishing: Copyright Demystified." It's free, and full of useful information far beyond just copyright issues. Musical America's "Special Reports" are free and they're always worth reading.
on June 4, 2014 7:59am
Hi Melinda!
Thank you for sharing this information.  Every composer should know about "Special Reports."
on June 4, 2014 8:31am
Thank you so much for sharing that, Melinda.   As a mere(!) Englishman, I wasn't even aware of that site,  and I must say, it looks very interesting..
And thanks to those who have commented on the various merits and detractions of the self-publishing sites.   It looks as though Sheet Music Plus is currently stealing a lead of JWP!
on June 4, 2014 7:01pm
This has been a very useful thread. I think this system has serious merit for the future of composition sales, as the composer retains rights to the pieces. I'm very excited about this venue of sales and think it could potentially increase the viability of getting self-published music to the public, potentially equal to that of being published with a major publishing company (and did I mention we retain the rights).
I have a couple of questions (sorry if they seem ignorant).
Does either JW Pepper or SMP promote the posted music at all (such as increasing visibility of a piece if sales are occurring regularly, especially JWP considering the fee)? If not, does finding the music purely rely on random lucky searches on their website as well as the usual word of mouth and composer self-promotion?
I remember some representatives from distributing companies being on this forum a while ago when they were getting the system going. Is there a way they can check in and fill us in one the progress of this new system?
I will be signing up with the SMP system and hopefully with JWP when I am confident I will at least break even in sales through their website.
Also thanks Melinda for the link!
God Bless,
Michael Sandvik
on June 6, 2014 5:40am
Dear Michael
About your question of if SMP promote our posted music I may say that I usually receive the email promotions of SMP and in a couple of them, to my surprise, my score were there…   Anyway, it seem to me that when we are interested on buying a particular score of a particular composer one of the first think we usually do is to look for them on the web, doesn’t it? Well, if you type on google, for example, my last name and a score of mine –let’s say ‘De Profundis Magnificat’, you may see on the top results (the 5th) my score sold by SMP.   To my opinion that it is highly satisfactory, given that searching on the web is nowadays something everybody do constantly.

Eduardo Andrés Malachevsky
choral conductor & composer
eam on YouTube  /   eam WEB  /  eam Facebook
eam SoundCloud  /  eam scores - sheetmusicplus 
on June 5, 2014 1:05pm
Hi everyone, Ryan here from Sheet Music Plus. Just came upon this thread and thought I would chime in. It's great to see a conversation happening about digital print publishing! 
@Gordon: you're absolutely right that the composer retains 100% control of their music, provided you have all the appropriate rights or are submitting a unique version of a public domain work. Sheet Music Plus is not a "publisher" in the traditional sense, but is allowing users to discover, purchase, and instantly download your music through our extensive database and search engine, which receives over 3 million visits a year
@Michael: Yes, we are promoting Digital Print Publishing users in our monthly newsletter based on their sales and/or seasonal relevance (Wedding Season, Christmas, etc.). Choral music does particularly well, by the way, and, as @Greg said, you can now sell your titles for as little as $1.99. And remember, with SMP you don't need to worry about "breaking even," since the service is completely FREE! 
And yes, sorry, there were some delays and payment issues this past winter while the service was in beta which have since been resolved. We are working very hard this summer to address additional issues mentioned here, including speeding up the processing and payment times. Your feedback and comments are crucial in helping us make Digital Print Publishing work best for you, so feel free to contact us at if you have additional questions or suggestions or would like to join our informational Digital Print Publishing newsletter.
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