Wise replaces James Rushton

Wise replaces James Rushton


norman lebrecht

August 28, 2020

Wise Music Group, the leading classical publisher, has appointed Wiebke Busch as the new Managing Director, UK Rights Companies.

She succeeds the veteran James Rushton, who is retiring after a 40-year career.



  • Grittenhouse says:

    They may be Wise, but is it wise for classical music publishing to be monopolized by a small handful of companies? I don’t think so. When they become part of big corporations, they are all about licensing, rentals, rights, and publishing sheet music is a thing of the past. It’s all wrong.

    • SVM says:

      Whilst I agree in principle with much of what Grittenhouse says, the unfortunate reality is that small publishers do not have the resources and clout to protect their copyrights effectively against the big online monopolies such as Alphabet (the holding company for Google and Youtube), which have a lackadaisical approach to identifying rightsholders and paying fair royalties. We have a situation where even the big royalty-collecting societies (PRS, GEMA, &c.) struggle to negotiate a decent and transparent deal with said big monopolies (despite being a member of PRS, I am not allowed to see the terms and royalty rates applicable to its deal with Youtube), and the occasional instance of a royalty-collecting society standing up to Alphabet seems to have no long-term effect (Slipped Disc recently reported on a Danish society refusing to sign a deal, but the impact of this seems to be minimal here in the UK).

      Youtube’s ContentID system is hopeless for classical music, since it relies on automated checking for similarity to commercially released recordings, and there seems to be no mechanism to correct the results unless you happen to be an uncredited rightsholder (as far as I can tell, there is no mechanism for the person uploading a video or a third party to inform Youtube who the rightsholders are, which means that misattributed videos are rife and any recording that is not a copy of a commercial release pays zero royalties).

      So, in an ideal world, once the big internet monopolies have been broken, we would have more but smaller publishers, but, in the meantime, I suspect that having a few very big publishers is probably the only way to prevent a /de facto/ obliteration of composers’ rights.