The March/April 2023 issue of Choral Journal is online and features an article titled “The Business of Composing Part 1: Commissions & Publishing” by Jake Runestad with Dan Forrest. Following is a portion from the article.
One of the great traditions of the choral community is supporting and performing new music by living composers. The development of new repertoire allows for engaging rehearsals and performances, fostering conversations around relevant and complex topics, improving the techniques and abilities of the musicians, and building community through meaningful collaboration with living artists. While training on musical craft is widely available to composers, there are few resources addressing the financial side of this artistic endeavor (which ultimately enables composers to continue their creative work).
Composers Jake Runestad and Dan Forrest have created this two-part article about The Business of Composing to help demystify the financial aspect of composition. The first installment will explore “Commissioning and Publishing,” while the second will focus on “Licensing.”
These articles are aimed at educating composers, conductors, and choral organizations alike. We hope that this information (though not the entirety of a composer’s financial life) will help to sustain the careers of composers through proper support and licensing from conductors and choral organizations, which ultimately helps keep choral music vibrant and growing!
The pillars of a composer’s music-related income are formed by commissions, publishing royalties, performance royalties, residencies/appearance fees, and licensing (for the sake of this article, we’re considering teaching a separate entity). While there are industry traditions within each of these categories, there is also a fair amount of variation and flexibility. Due to the limited space in this article, we can’t cover everything, but hopefully this is a helpful introduction to these elements.
Read the full article in the March/April 2023 issue of Choral Journal. acda.org/choraljournal