Updated on June 20, 2015 at 12:35 p.m.
The 2015 Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence were announced during the luncheon of the annual meeting of the Music Publishers Association at the Westin New York Grand Central in New York City on Friday, June 19. Among the winners in 13 separate award categories (ranging from educational folios to piano and guitar solos to choral and full orchestra scores) were publications containing two of the final compositions of the late Elliott Carter, an unaccompanied choral setting of Psalm 23 by Paul Moravec, flute and piano duos by Shulamit Ran and Amanda Harberg, a wind quintet as well as work for narrator and orchestra inspired by the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Daniel Dorff, voice and piano collections of music by John Musto, Tobias Picker, and William Bolcom (whose solo guitar piece also received an award), and a suite for six violas by South African composer Elizabeth Rennie. (The awards are named in honor of American Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere, who was a printer by profession.) A complete list of award-winning publications appears below.
Besides the Revere Award recipients, there were several additional 2015 honorees. In recognition of their commitment to intellectual property rights and their efforts to sponsor bi-partisan copyright reform legislation, US congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries were presented the MPA Arnold Broido Award by composer and MPA vice president Sean Patrick Flahaven, who is also senior vice president of Theatre and Catalog Development for Warner/Chappell Music. “It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the law changes with the times and that those who create are able to prosper in the years ahead,” said Nadler during his acceptance speech. “While technology should continue to grow and flourish, we can’t allow it to undermine creators,” Jeffries added.
Ralph Peer II, chairman and CEO since 1980 of the 87-year-old music publishing company Peermusic founded by his father Ralph Peer, was presented MPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award by composer Mohammed Fairouz, the youngest composer signed to Peermusic Classical. “Ralph has made an impact in the lives of so many artists over the years,” said Fairouz. “Without his undying commitment, I would not be able to create my works.”
“Despite our successes in the popular music field, I find our work in the contemporary classical community to be very personally rewarding,” said Peer during an impassioned speech in which he urged right holders and performing rights societies to rethink the way that “long term” music is surveyed in an era where streaming is becoming the dominant mode of music listening.
The 2015 Paul Revere Winners
Piano-Vocal Music Notesetting
Solos, With or Without Accompaniment
Cover Design Featuring Photography
Cover Design Featuring Graphic Elements
Design in Folios: Popular Music
Design in Folios: Concert & Educational Music
Publications for Electronic Distribution
Ronald Whitaker, head librarian for The Cleveland Orchestra, announced the winners. This year’s awards were overseen by Metropolitan Opera Chief Librarian Robert Sutherland, who chairs the Paul Revere Awards committee and announced the winners. In addition to Whitaker and Sutherland, the adjudicators for the 2015 awards were: Kazue McGregor, principal librarian for the Los Angeles Philharmonic; graphics designer Dennis Suplina, formerly of Jaffe and Partners; and Nim Ben-Reuven, a freelance designer and graphics editor working primarily in print.
In addition to the presentation of awards, there were a variety of speakers at the 2015 MPA annual meeting. After welcoming attendees in her opening remarks, MPA President Kathleen Marsh, CEO of Musicnotes.com, described the progress on some of MPA’s initiatives in the past year. As a result of MPA’s coordinated anti-piracy efforts with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), more than 200,000 infringing files have been removed from websites; one particularly offending website, pianofiles.com, has been pulled down, but they have re-emerged as sheeto.com.
NMPA President David Israelite offered a report on the state of the music publishing industry. Flanked by a series of pie charts, he showed that performance rights, which constitute 53% of music industry revenue earned in 2014, are now the major revenue category. (The largest portion of that revenue, 36.6% is from terrestrial radio; digital is still less than half of that–13.1%.) Mechanical rights in 2014 only accounted for 21% of revenue. While revenue from physical recordings still accounts for the largest part of that, 44.9%, he predicts that digital will overtake physical as soon as next year. Already downloads (at 41.6%) and streaming (10.7%) constitute over half of the revenue, although the future of downloading is uncertain as more consumers are streaming music. Nevertheless, Israelite seems particularly hopeful. “We’ve turned the corner from an era that is marked by piracy,” he said, but he noted that publishers must think beyond the way they have been doing business for the last 70 years. He warned the members of the audience not to be “like a prisoner who’s been in jail for so long they’re not sure they want to walk out.”
Natalie Madaj, legal counsel to both MPA and NMPA, provided her annual update on the two organizations’ joint anti-theft program. The goal of the program is to remove unlicensed reproduction of lyrics and music from websites and to work with sites to properly license lyrics and music under copyright when they are posted online. Over the last year, notices were sent to a total of 18,954 URLs and 81% of them removed the infringing material.
John Raso, vice president for client services for the Harry Fox Agency (HFA), the agency which collects and distributes virtually all mechanical license fees in the United States, spoke about new licensing streams for publishers. “We live in a market now where it’s virtually impossible to police everything,” he acknowledged and encouraged publishers to be more pro-active in managing their data. “Part of why we’re now successful in reducing piracy is that there are now legal alternatives.” When Deirdre Chadwick, BMI’s executive director for classical music, asked Raso to address the immense difficulties involved with remunerating composers for digital usages when online files frequently lack metadata identifying the composers, he admitted that “it’s not easy without the authoritative knowledge of the publishers to identify the works in their catalogs.” According to him, in the era when mechanical licenses were primary collected from record companies, it was a lot easier since record companies worked very closely with the people they recorded, whereas technology companies are very distant from the process of creation.
In the next presentation, “YouTube Music Publishing 101,” Kim-Lorraine Gerlach, manager of content partnerships for YouTube, stated that there are more than 1 billion unique YouTube users each month (which is 1/7th of the world’s population). Users upload 300 hours of content per minute. A statistic that she was particularly proud to share with the members of this convening is that 25% of people who hear a song on YouTube buy it afterwards. YouTube is eager to better facilitate the discovery of music. According to Gerlach, YouTube now works closely with HFA to identify material that is owned by more than 7,000 partners using their audio scanning platform, Content ID. There are now more than 35 million reference files, and more than 3.5 million hours (400 years!) of video are scanned daily. During the Q&A period, several publishers complained to Gerlach that, given the volume, it is extremely difficult for publishers to properly monitor and identify everything that is being uploaded, but simply adding a few steps for uploaders to properly identify music that appears in YouTube videos would greatly simplify the adjudication of rights. She could not address that directly, since it is outside of her department, but she stated that she would raise this issue with other YouTube staff. Below is a graph showing YouTube’s current rights management process.
Updated 3:42 p.m.
Following the awards luncheon and an election of new officers to the MPA board of directors, a series of brief video memorials to recently deceased MPA members were presented followed by screenings of the National Music Council and MPA Copyright Awareness Scholarship Finalists. Launched by the MPA in 2010, the program has now awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships to high school and college students in recognition of creative videos that engage students in copyright and intellectual property protection. (The 2015 finalists have not yet been posted online, but the 2014 finalists can be seen here.)
Bill Aicher, who serves as the digital strategist for Musicnotes, gave a presentation entitled “Going Digital: Building Blocks for a Successful Online Environment.” “The internet is life,” exclaimed Aicher. “Most people are now online all the time.” Aicher claimed that while it is important to have a website, no one should expect people to interact with that website on a daily basis; those interactions occur on social platforms. Facebook is where the most interactivity takes place. Twitter has yet to show business value. Advanced users should also consider using Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine as well as YouTube, which he suggested was ideal for product preview. Aicher opined that publishers should not worry about having an e-commerce enabled site since many people are now afraid of having their credit card information compromised; instead, he suggestions, that potential customers should be redirected to sites where they already shop at and trust. He claimed that all websites should be optimized to work on mobile devices but that creating an app is unnecessary. However, he also advised, “If what you can offer can be made available digitally, make it available. If you don’t offer it, someone else will–probably illegally.”
Updated 4:00 p.m.
Finally, there was a demonstration of StaffPad, a new notation app that recognizes handwriting and converts it into an engraved score that can then be further edited and printed. According to its developer Matthew Tesch, a software engineer at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, it currently can only be used on a Microsoft Surface and other Windows 8.1 compatible devices since it requires a touch sensitive screen that supports a pen. “We wanted to also develop this for the iPad, but the iPad’s technology isn’t there yet,” said Tesch. The app, however, does support Finale and Sibelius platforms, allowing users to import and export files created using those notation programs.
The day’s activities ended with a reception featuring live jazz performed by the John Murchison Trio. Many of the attendees continued to talk about the day’s presentations. Stephen Culbertson, President of Subito Music Publishing, reflected on the pie charts that NMPA President David Israelite displayed earlier in the day and pointed out the economic realities of what it means for mechanical income to decline to 21% of publishers’ revenue streams.
Those economic realities are indeed sobering, but the reports that legal alternatives to digital piracy are becoming more normative and new developments such as StaffPad offer hope. It will be interesting to hear what the discussions will be at next year’s MPA gathering.