The only odd thing that


The only odd thing that happens sometimes is when you want rights for good cause projects, or just ones that appeal to the copyright holders. In around 1996 I wanted to be able to use a well known, and chart topping piece of music for a brand new exam/course being taught for the first time – and to test the candidates they needed to use a MIDI file we supplied  (it was new then!) of a piece of sheet music, make it sound good, and then submit the CD for listening. We obviously needed to get rights to produce a MIDI file – then print the sheet music, distribute it and then get thousands of students to record it. Copyright clearance nightmare of the century, we disovered. One piece of music had a pretty tricky string arrangement in it, and we were quoted a huge sum to use it by the arranger. The money collected in entry fees was dwarfed by this, so we were thinking of scrapping it. However, a friend of a friend worked in the UK office of the American record company who represented the artiste. He was in the office one day, and she mentioned it, and it triggered a few questions – what was it for, who were these people, what would they be doing? This was all explained and he thought it brilliant his music was going to be studied, broken down and then recreated. He was also pretty annoyed the arranger had scuppered it because it turned out he had been paid a fee to arrange it, and had no rights in it whatsoever. He gave his permission, and for contractual reasons had to charge – 10 Dollars! A bargain. Thank you Mr Richie! (actually, it was Hello, Mr Richie). We tried in following years Santana and  Abba – and both were very happy to make their material available at a special educational rate. In later years, however, the new R&B bands were very reluctant, some even saying no at any price. Perhaps they worried people would uncover how basic the songs really were?



So don't give up – but if you want to make money out of it, then expect it to not be cheap. Rarely impossible though!

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