Someone Wrote That Song
Musical theater writers out there are facing the exact same problem that popular music writers/artists faced years ago: the internet has made it waaaaay too easy to steal their work.
See, back in my day, I used to record the Top 40 off the radio, or “tape” my best friend’s record if I couldn’t afford to buy it myself. And the music industry was making so much bank in so many ways, no one cared.
When the internet exploded, well, all of a sudden anyone anywhere in the world could be your best friend, and “taping” became clicking so sleepovers for music sharing was not required. Thanks to sites like Napster and Limewire, stolen music was the norm (I’ll admit, I downloaded some files myself in the early 2000s – the sites saved time and money and that’s what consumers always want.)
Two things put those sites out of work – monstrous litigation and the invention of iTunes.
Now, let’s talk about the subject at hand – musical theater writers.
Back in my days as a performer, we all photocopied music from the library, or, yep, from that same best friend. And while annoying to the publishers, no one really cared that much.
Here comes the internet, and surprise, surprise, here comes a couple of sheet music “sharing” sites doing the same thing as Napster and LimeWire. (I won’t link to them or mention them here because I don’t want to offer them that kind of promotion – no wait, there is one I’ll name because they so obviously know they’re doing something wrong, they named their Facebook Group “I Love Oven Mitts” as a mafia like cover!) The result of these sites is that hard working writer folks lose out on potential revenue that they could use to help pay the bills (and therefore they have less time.)
So, what could stop them?
Monstrous litigation and, well, a Steve Jobsian type publisher that puts the majority of sheet music on one central site. (A bunch of mini-Jobsian type writers establishedthis site years ago and have been quite successful so far.)
Before the litigation or the” iTunes of Sheet Music” happens, the smart folks at the Dramatists Guild, with a number of brilliant writers and performers at various stages of their career, from Alan Menken to Craig Carnelia to Nick Blaemire to Kait Kerrigan , wrote the little ditty and shot the little video below to help spread the word about piracy and what it could mean for the future of our biz.
Enjoy it and enjoy your weekend. (But first make sure you give me a comment on what you feel about sheet music piracy.)
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