In the early 1900s, royalties from sales of sheet music produced a steady source of income to composers and music publishers. But radio changed all that. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston sat down with a legal expert to learn how.
It was one thing to sit at a piano in a parlor and play a Stephan Foster tune from sheet music propped up on a music stand. But a broadcast of music over the airwaves was a different thing entirely! The advent of radio as a tool for entertainment set the music industry on its heels and brought about new interpretations of copyright law, just as the digital age has done.
Listen to more of Meridee's interview with intellectual property lawyer, Gary Rosen.
MERIDEE DUDDLESTON: Collecting royalties from sales of sheet music could be controlled. But intellectual property lawyer Gary Rosen says making music available to everyone over the airwaves for free was as disruptive to the music industry as the Internet has been. Back in the early 1900s, composers saw radio broadcasts as a threat to their creativity and livelihoods - a threat, Rosen emphasizes, that copyright law was designed to prevent.
GARY ROSEN: Copyright is given, not as a gift to composers, but it’s meant to benefit the public by spurring creativity.
MUSIC: John Philip Sousa's The Washington Post
DUDDLESTON: The music industry and popular composers like John Philip Sousa concluded that a radio broadcast was a public performance of their copyrighted works. They demanded that the radio industry begin to pay royalties. And they banded together to enforce their rights in a way that avoided a logistical nightmare.
ROSEN: Their solution was to form this performing rights organization in which they pool their copyrights and then licensed them on what’s called a blanket basis.
DUDDLESTON: The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) was the first blanket licensing organization. Rosen says blanket copyright licenses for radio have worked the way they were intended.
ROSEN: And the fact that a mechanism was formed to actually enforce that performance right and create an income stream for composers has had a tremendous impact on the quality and variety of American music – popular, jazz, classical.
Gary A. Rosen is the author of Unfair to Genius: The Strange and Litigious Career of Ira B. Arnstein
You don't have to go far to hear music in Philadelphia - sometimes it’s on the next street corner. A guy with an acoustic guitar plays folk/rap on Rittenhouse Square. People mailing their bills at the post office at 9th and Chestnut are treated to the sound of a vibraphone. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns looks at what Philadelphia has on the street, and what it could have.
A manuscript of a J.S. Bach cantata casts a new light on how Bach intended the piece to be played. A singer gains insight from a line in a Porgy and Bess manuscript that differs from the final lyrics. The Music Division of the massive Library of Congress in Washington, DC, is a place where performers, composers, scholars and the general public make discoveries of the musical kind.
Case in point: in a series of letters written in 1957 to his wife Felicia, while she was visiting her family in Santiago, Chile, Leonard Bernstein faithfully chronicles the progress of West Side Story during the final weeks of rehearsal through the show’s out-of-town opening in Washington, D.C. The letters reveal Bernstein’s changing emotions about the show from frustration and agony to his final state of euphoria. In addition to comments about West Side Story, Bernstein writes about signing his contract as conductor with the New York Philharmonic, his upcoming thirty-ninth birthday, and how much he misses Felicia and their children, Jamie and Alexander. Read the letters here.
The Special Collections of the Music Division are truly fascinating and constitute a resource for musical scholarship that is unmatched anywhere in the world. These unique bodies of materials are extraordinarily vast and diverse, yet very much interrelated. They include some of the greatest treasures of the Music Division and the Library of Congress.
The Crossing, Philadelphia’s foremost contemporary music chorus, begins a newly expanded season this Sunday, September 15th. The choir will now perform throughout the year. WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports that though the group is growing its output, its artistic vision will not change.
Philadelphia-area native Donald Nally has had a varied and storied career. In addition to a term as artistic director of the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, Nally has also been chorus master of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, The Spoleto Festival, Welsh National Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Nally stepped down from Lyric at the end of the 2010-2011 season to fully dedicate himself to what he acknowledges as his greatest passion: The Crossing. The Philadelphia-based chamber choir is dedicated to performing new and contemporary choral music; its popularity with audiences is growing and growing...
Philadelphia’s premiere opera company begins its new season this month with a new name and a fresh approach to presenting its work. The Opera Company of Philadelphia starts its first season as Opera Philadelphia. The name changed to better reflect the diversity and scope of its artistic output.
Now, from the traditional opera company that grew out of the 1975 merger of the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company and the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company, comes a producer and presenter with a three-stranded approach. And, says General Director David Devan, maybe even three separate sets of audiences.
While jazz giant John Coltrane was born and raised in North Carolina, and died in New York, he spent 15 years in Philadelphia. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the role the city played in the career of this master sax player and composer, who would have turned 87 this month.
Music lives in a quaint, historic building on Philadelphia’s Locust Street, just a few doors down from the Curtis Institute of Music, where David Michie restores and sells violins and bows, drawing virtuoso musicians from far and wide. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston paid a visit to this master craftsman.
Master violin restorer and dealer David Michie recounts how renowned French archetier (the French term for bow maker) Eugene Sartory policed the market for counterfeits of his work. Michie also provides some advice on choosing a bow in these excerpts of an interview with Meridee Duddleston.
Michie has much to say about the importance of a high-quality bow. "What the Italians were to string instruments, the French were to bows," he explains. In the 1800s, large blocks of wood from the pernambuco tree were used as ballast in ships making their way from Brazil to France. And Francois Tourte, who developed the modern bow and is considered the “Stradavarius of bow makers,” took to the wood and started using it. Pernambuco is now an endangered species whose export is restricted. Although carbon fiber and other substitutes are now in the mix, Michie says nothing beats a bow made of pernambuco wood from Brazil. Here's the website for David Michie Violins.
Coming up on Sunday, September 15th, WRTI's Sunday radio broadcast of The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert features, on the podium, Englishman Simon Rattle, the music director of the Berlin Philharmonic. The internationally renowned conductor has a bond with the Philadelphians, nurtured over the last 20 years.
In the radio broadcast, Rattle leads the orchestra in a program featuring symphonies no. 6 and 7 of Sibelius, Norman’s Unstuck, and Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 3 with Lang Lang as soloist.
So Percussion is one of the most celebrated groups its kind in the U.S. and can usually be counted on for high-intensity rhythms. But in their one hour at the Philadelphia Fringe Arts festival this week they do a fair amount of talking, and in ways that suggest the cutting edge is getting softer.