Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by daisygemma, Nov 12, 2003.

  1. daisygemma

    daisygemma Member

    Otley Brass Band were recently turned down for an "Awards for All" grant to buy some uniforms but at the same time were accepted by our local carnival organisers to be beneficiaries (spelling?!) of next years carnival. Originally this money wsa going to go towards the uniforms but these have had to go on the back burner for the time being.

    Anyway, our chairman had divine inspiration in the pub last night and wondered if we could spend the money on commissioning a march for the band entitled "Otley" (very original!!)

    Can anyone give us some pointers about how we should go about this, who we should contact and how much we should expect to pay.


    :lol: :lol:
  2. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I'd draw attention to it on a widely-read public forum frequented by a number of composers, like, for example,, and wait for the offers to flood in... :wink:

  3. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    You could call it "On With The Otley"!!!!!

    GROAN :roll: :roll:
  4. daisygemma

    daisygemma Member

    Well I had thought of that one! :wink:
  5. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    no!!!.. dont do it hehe
  6. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Or even "Blowing Otley and coldly" :wink:
  7. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    You could put him in touch with a local composer with experience of taking on that sort of work!

  8. Valvecap

    Valvecap Member

    I could recommend a good local composer...

    BTW, on the subject of the title...

    "its an Otley Crowd" or "The Otley Bunch!" (no offence meant before i get shot at... Again... lol
  9. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for bringing this back on topic SM

    gemma, over here, it's possible to approach the Arts Council for grants involving commissions. As far as I know (and this may be inaccurate) the way it works is that you approach the A.C. and they give you a list of "approved artists" who you can approach. They then can give a grant toward the costs.
  10. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Well here goes..........

    BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) have set the standard rate at £585 per minute of music.

    But, it's not about price, it's about the sound you want. You have to find the composer who's sound you like (not nessesarily a March) and that's the Composer you should negosiate with.

    I charge £300 per minute of music for commissions now, where as a year or two ago I used to charge £120 per minute of music.

    A typical 4 minute piece of music would probably take me between 3 - 10 hours to write, then about the same again to put it into the computer. Most other composers, particualry those with less experience take a lot longer. So it's well worth remembering that you get what you pay for so if you want to fork only £50 per minute of music for a commission, then your wasting your money. Sorry to say that, but that is the reality of the situation, commissioning a composer is expensive -ALWAYS!

    If your interested in commssioning me, then let me know and we'll come to some kind of a deal, £300 per minute of music can be a lot for Band's to fork out, so I understand and am fully happy to negosiate! :lol:
  11. Bob Thompson

    Bob Thompson Member

    It maybe worth contacting your local arts council, there are grants available to fund such projects, ie, Mission to Commision, in addition, ask at your local civic centre (european funding officer/advisor) about 'leader plus' grants
    worth a try.
  12. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    Lol! Very good! :lol: :lol: :lol:
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    From what you said in your initial posting, you are due to receive the funds from next year's carnival, so presumably the actual amount will not be known until nearer the time. That is obviously going to make it difficult to approach potential composers, although you could certainly sound them out about what their charges would be.

    As to the quality of music vis-a-vis the outlay I wouldn't necesarily go along with James's statement - you may be fortunate in getting something really effective from an up-and-coming composer, even a music student; equally, you could go to someone who is more established, hence charging more, but who may produce something less inspired and more hackneyed.
  14. daisygemma

    daisygemma Member

    I would just like to say a quick thankyou to those people who have taken time out to reply to me.


    The information has been really useful and given me some great ideas to go back to the rest of the committee with.


    If I remember I will give an update of what happens.
  15. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    Remember to tell us when the premiere will be! :wink:
  16. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I'm intrigued by this statement; should we assume that this figure is intended to cover only the "composition" process, prior to any typesetting/print/production costs? Or are composers expected to charge the same total amount for the production of a minute's worth of music for full symphony orchestra as they would for a minute's worth of music for soloist with piano accompaniment?

    Some clarification of this would be nice......


  17. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    Commision rates and conditions differ from Composer to Composer.

    Usually, the commissioner will not be charged for typesetting or printing unless the work is to remain unpublished, the composer may feel that a typesetting fee is appropriate, again these differ, but usually expensive.

    As far as BASCA are concered, this is a composition commission, they also state that this is a minimum or 'standard rate' figure and that it in no way reflects as a maximum, indeed there is no maximum.

    I charge differant rates according to the instrumentation, but regardless of the instrumentation used, the same amount of harmony, counterpoint and melody is applied, this should be remembered, as a work for String Orchestra would probably cost just the same as a Piano work - perhaps the composer may add an extra charge for printing, I know that I don't.

    In terms of copyright, the composer (or publisher) keeps the copyright and can release the work commercially, but a 'comment' or 'dedication' should be marked on the score and parts. With Film and TV commissions, copyright is handled in a different way and usually the composer will not retain copyright.

    I think it is very doubtfull that a Brass Band composer would 'hand-over' the copyright of the work. Copyright is a property right and just like any other property it can be bought and that ain't cheep. If a company or whatever came up to me wanting to buy the copyright of a couple of my pieces, then the figure is going to be around £5,000,000. Which, may sound ludicrous, but the possibility of getting your money back 20 times over on the two pieces is there if you know how to make the most of the music.

    Anyway, although fees and terms differ somewhat, I think it's safe to say, that in the Brass Band world, u'll only have to pay for the composing of the commission. All I can say is I charge £300 per minute of music, that inludes the whole lot - composing the commission; typesetting and formatting; fully published (digitally) printed set; The right to have first dibs at recording the work with no fee attached; 'dedication' statement of who commissioned the work.
  18. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I hear what you're saying insofar as the mental process of composition, or, to put it another way, the "creative bit", is not affected by the size of the ensemble (although there is an argument that the orchestration of a work is as much part of the creative process as the composition element). Obviously you are fully entitled to apply whatever rules you wish to your own work; I just can't see the logic of charging the same amount per unit of time for the finished work, irrespective of the size of ensemble. Even if you have agreed not to charge for typesetting/printing etc, the physical process of inputting (or handwriting - does anyone do that anymore?) a large full-score is that much more time-consuming than for a small ensemble. Even if you don't see it as part of the "composition" process, surely it's still part of your overall time-investment?

    As I say, the rules you personally apply are your own business; my question was more to do with whether the official BASCA rate is supposed to take this into account or not.


  19. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    For a professional (of which, I view myself to be) can cope with large score in a short amount of time, again I speak only of my own skills. Of course there is more work involved, but less than you may think. There is a myth that 'composing' for Orchestra is harder than writing for Brass Ensemble, which is simply untrue, it's actually the other-way 'round! :lol:
    The 'Orchestration' of a piece of music isn't all that difficult if you have years of experience and skill behind you, which, thankfully I have :wink:

    To back up what I've said, it might interest you to know that BASCA have set the standard minimum fee for Symphony Orchestra commissions at £585 per minute of music - the same price for Brass Band!!!!!

    BASCA are not 'dictating' a fee, nor do they state terms for the fee.

    What's included in my fee, won't be in others, so all I can do is base on my own terms and fees.

    BASCA have simply stated what would be the nominal fee, and they do state clearly on their factsheet that this is not a definate figure.

    Every composer will take the BASCA figure and apply it to his own method of commission charging.

    Sorry I cant be of much help in describing a generic commission for you, there simply isn't one, if your asking specifics about my fee's, then it makes it much easier, it kinda gives you a real working scenario.
  20. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Actually, I was only interested in the BASCA figure from an academic point of view; in fact, for estimating/billing purposes in my own arranging work (I don't consider myself to be a composer) I use the British Music Writers Council (in agreement with the Musician's Union) official rates, which are set out primarily on a price-per-bar/stave basis; just seems less illogical than a price per unit of time system.