Classical publishers suffer deadly blow in German courts

A court decision in Berlin has aroused fears for the survival of major music publishers.

The court ruled that it was illegal for GEMA, the rights collecting agency, to share payouts to publishers as well as creative artists.

A Schott official warned immediately that several publishers might have to shut down.

More here.

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  • From the article can be understood that this is mostly about pop music. E-Musik composers (‘serious music’) can still negotiate with publishers about sharing royalties. The protests from Schott in Mainz, a big publisher of E-Musik worrying about the impopularity of the sonic works they publish, are thus premature, publishers have enough leverage to break a deal with composers. The sensitivity of this court decision for publishers of E-Musik should be explained by the small market of the German ‘modern scene’ where sonic art is celebrated, because it is not very welcome in the central performance culture which in Germany is extraordinary rich and would offer a potential market which would make publishers rich if German composers would write music that could be incorporated in that culture.

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