Are we being ripped-off!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Voldemort, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. Voldemort

    Voldemort Member

    I've noticed a recent trend by some music publishers to publish brass band sets which come complete with what the publishers call 'World Parts'. These are parts that include Horns in F (covering flugel and Eb horns) Tenor Trombones in bass clef concert pitch, Bass Trombone in treble clef and Euphoniums and Basses in bass clef concert pitch.
    The other fact here is that these arrangements are very expensive. My own band having recently purchased the Harry Potter arrangement for about £40.00 which included 'World Parts'. Why should brass bands have to pay for additional parts that they will not use?

    So then, back to the title of the thread: Are we being ripped-off!

  2. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Probably :lol:
  3. Kari Anson

    Kari Anson Member

    I'd say so - steer clear of music publishers that do this.
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Personally I wouldn't have said that bands were being "ripped off". The pricing of music varies greatly from one publisher to another and there are a lot of variables, such as the duration of the music, that will play a part. It would be different if bands were being charged a specific amount for each part included, and then forced to buy copies they were not going to use.

    I can fully understand it from the publisher's point of view, whereby they may feel it broadens the appeal of their product, and it is obviously much more efficient to supply all the parts with every order, rather than sorting out each one individually.
  5. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    There are some trombonists, euph and tuba players out there who don't read (or don't like reading) treble clef. Maybe if this trend of 'world parts' were to become popular or dare I say 'standardized', we might be able to tempt a few more of the 'one clef wonders' into bands? ;-)

    When they say 'world parts' I'm presuming that the aim is to sell these arrangements to bands in different countries where clef reading habits might be different? So long as they standardize the price of the publication, I'm all for it.
  6. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Trombone players should be able to read four clefs.

    Oh and do a hand stand whilst playing the acrobat double tempo... :shock: :twisted:
  7. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    As strange as this may sound it may be cheaper for publishers to standardise parts sets for all countries.

    If you consider things like cost of printing runs, storage space, sorting out the envitable errors when the wrong sets of parts are sent, and general hassile the publishers have probably crunched some numbers and worked out that the costs involved in sending a few redundant parts is less, especially for the more popular pieces like Harry Potter.

    Just a thought..... :?
  8. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    i don't see that it's a problem... maybe it's a clever plan to avoid copyright infringement when players who don't play the normal brass band clef (bass clef troms and euphs etc...) rewrite their parts in a way they can read...
  9. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    Personally, I treat it as "exercise" to play from the bass clef Euph parts - (it also "winds up" those that can't :twisted: )

    With today's technology, surely producing different transposition / clef versions of the parts should be simply a matter of setting the software to do it and printing it out - or am I being over optimistic? Hence the only incremental cost would be the extra printed pages...

    Just out of curiosity - what do "they" print in the score? Transposed or non-transposed versions of the parts?

  10. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    From my experience, the scores I get for the 'world parts' stuff are of the standard brass band clefs. (Harry Potter, Frankly Speaking, Serenata - Leroy Anderson, Cartoon Classics - all those come with standard brass band score)
  11. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    The inclusion of the exttra parts is a means of broadening the market for the music. The reason why everyone has to pay "extra" for them is because it is much less expensive for the publisher to make a single type of packet than have custom packets for particular orders.

    I find having parts in clefs, especially bass clef parts for the lower brass, is incredibly useful, especially when dealing with younger players who have not yet been taught one clef or the other. When playing, I often use the bass clef parts when available just to keep in practice of reading the clef.

    While the use of modern software does make it easier to create parts (which is why more publsihers are including extra parts now - it's a lot easier to do if you can just change the clef in the software nad don't have to worry about transposition errors). But that doesn't help the physical act of preparing a packet for distribution.

    My guess is that in the future (within 15 years) there will be an agreed-upon standard for notation software and paper parts won't be distributed at all - you'll just download and print your own parts.
  12. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    I'm all for broadening the range of band music and increasing accessibility, but on the other hand I don't like to see the band paying for things we don't want, didn't ask for and don't need.

    Considering that the number of bands who really need 'world parts' must be very small I should have thought that it would be more economical to produce a supplementary pack of world parts which would augment the standard set - an optional extra.

    Wtith current technologies, publishers can be much more flexible. It can be done: when I needed treble clef euphonium parts for one of Peter Graham's wind band pieces I simply emailed Gramercy Music and the parts arrived the following day, without charge. Similarly, one of Dragon Music's regular customers always asks for extra bass parts - I'm not sure whether their players are more numerous or just careless, but it is so easy to do and it keeps customers happy and well away from the photocopier!

  13. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    I don't like to see bands paying for sets of parts containing all mother of misprints/mistakes left right and centre, but we still get them from a lot of publishers (NOT, I hasten to add, from Dragon Music, it should be noted - pardon the pun!), particularly pieces bands are obliged to buy to enter a contest.
  14. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Actually, you have it backwards. There are many, many more concert bands (with woodwinds, etc.) than there are brass bands. The market is much larger for those than for a strictly brass publication. That's the market that the publishers are trying to get into - particularly the school market.

    I doubt that much of the cost of the music has to do with the phyiscal supply of the extra parts. Any publishers out there who want to comment?
  15. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Firstly, I don't think £40 is a lot for a BB set, so I don't think it can be called a rip-off.

    My guess is it's actually cheaper to produce all sets to the same specification than to have some of one instrumentation and some of another. It will depend whether the sets are collated by machine or manually, I would say.

    In the concert band world (certainly for Anglo Publications) it's common to produce a 'European' set which includes TC troms and basses for example. These are normally sold separately but the average concert band set can cost anything betwen £40 and £300 and the 'extra' set is 15 new parts, so a substantial proportion.

    It is now much cheaper than it used to be to produce transposed parts, so my guess is the world parts don't add much, if anything, to the total cost of a set.
  16. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    You were answering straightmute who IS a publisher (and a v.good one at that!)
  17. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Yes, I noticed that from his signature :) And I'm sure that he knows his particular target market better than I do.

    However . . .
    in the UK, you have enough of a brass band market to justify targeting just brass bands (perhaps). This is not true in most of the world. I contend that, if the publisher is attempting to get the music out to the largest market, then the "world" parts are actually MORE important than the traditional brass band parts. How many schools, even in the UK, have concert bands or wind ensembles as compared to brass bands?
  18. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Not in the UK, which is still the biggest market for brass band music. If you're selling music to brass bands, sell a standard brass band set. If others want alternative parts, sell them as an optional extra. Unless all publishers supply alternative parts to UK bands we're not going to recruit legions of orchestral/wind band players into the ranks of brass bands; I suspect if they were out there waiting for bass clef parts we would have heard from them by now! (And I'd be much happier if the 'world' parts were printed on the reverse of the UK parts because it's such a waste of paper!)

    If I bought a set of string quartet parts I wouldn't expect an alto sax version of the viola part, on the basis that there are more sax players in the world than violists... :)

    But seriously, I can see where you're coming from and, like you, would be happy to encourage any measures to help develop brass bands in the USA - just don't expect me to pay for it!

  19. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    As I said earlier, Straightmute knows his target market better than I do. :)

    If publishers are really raising prices only because of the the extra parts, then I can see everyone's issue with being forced to buy them.

    As long as we are still distributing paper, the best approach might be the one taken by the SA Central Territory in the US. They have a series (which is not strictly a brass band series, but includes band parts) where they supply one copy of each part and a limited licence to copy however many you need to fit your group. So if you need, say, only one second cornet part you aren't paying for more.

    Eventually, we're going to have electronic distribution, and the number of paper parts won't be an issue at all.
  20. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Totally agree with Philip Sparke! :)