Why Be a Sacred Music Publisher?
In this session of the Music For Ministry Podcast, I chat with David E. Smith who breaks down the day-to-day of what sacred music publishing is all about. Is it a ministry, a business, an art or a passion?
David E. Smith is the founder and owner of David E. Smith Publications offering a huge selection of sacred instrumental music for over 30 years.
In this session, David E. Smith and I chat about:
What motivated you to become a sacred music publisher?
- Music lessons at an early age – trumpet
- Lack of sacred music repertoire for various instruments.
Explain how you, as a sacred music publisher, have become a distributor for many companies.
- Brand names besides David E. Smith Publication: Psalm 150 Publications, Majestic Music Publications, River Song Productions
- A three pronged entity:
- Sacred music publisher – a catalog of over 6000 items
- Distributor for Rich Heffler Music, Stockton Music Services, Light of the World Music and Ken Bauer Productions
- Dealer for 20 or more companies
How do you make your sacred instrumental music available to the public?
- Working through the major music dealerships
- Conferences at exhibits
- Mail order
- Three websites
Give us an idea of how your submission process works
- Over 100 writers
- Mission – to give opportunities to people who have ability, and want to serve the Lord with their music a source to get published
- Guidelines: Counterpoint
- The review process takes some time for consideration
- It’s not just the quality of the music but how that music fits into our catalog
What governs the price of instrumental sheet music?
- The price for music has not changed much over the years
- The ability of downloading music has affected the cost some
- Equipment costs for reproducing music
- Production materials continue to increase
Is this a “get rich quick” type of business?
- Church ministries tend to be more conservative with their music purchases
How does the writer or arranger benefit from publishing through you?
- Field testing
- Research and copyrights
- Leveling – we publish for every instrument, every grade level (1-6)
Copyright Infringement issues
- Do copyright laws apply when doing the Lord’s work?
- Real property vs. Intellectual property
- Copyright laws were placed in our Constitution to protect the work of artists so they would perpetuate more things
- Understanding Fair use of a copyright – library and schools – limited
- Copyrights in other counties – Members of the Burn Convention
Types of licenses used in the publishing business
- Royalty contracts – writers
- Mechanical licenses – to make a CD
- Synchronization licenses – transmitted over radio or television
- Digital licenses
- Permissions granted often
Where would one go to download a music product?
Tells about what you call your axiom of music publishing.
- We don’t have what you want
- Somehow what we do have, we didn’t do it right
- I wanted it yesterday
A caution concerning meeting the customers wishes
- People will state they what they want but they don’t always follow through
- Second guessing the market – stay ahead of the customer to produce things they don’t know that they might want
How flexible are you concerning changing arrangements to fit other instruments?
- Musically pure – would tend to keep works published in the same family – brass with brass etc.
- Some keys do not allow the changing of the music to work that instrument
- Music software like Finale has made the process easier
- Attention is given to proper bowing and fingerings for string instruments
Tell us about your “flagship” products – a product that keeps them alive
- The Big Three – Hymnsembles, Hymns for Multiple Instruments, Heritage – a band method supplement
- Pepsembles – activity music
Opportunities to help others
- Guest conducting
Where is your company based?
- 100 miles north of Detroit
- Rural community
- Having a FedEx account, a UPS account, and an Internet account allows us to be located anywhere
How would someone contact you to find out more about David E. Smith Publications?
- despub.com – informational site
- churchmusic.biz – marketing site and excellent search engine
- Toll free number: 800-O’Sacred, 800-672-2733
- email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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