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31 July 2007

A Strategy of Exposure

Peter McNamara and Sumana Viravong, 2006 Image: Peter McNamara and Sumana Viravong, 2006  

Having one’s music documented on the Internet can be both a blessing and a curse. In 2002 while I was still an undergraduate student at the Sydney Conservatorium, I discovered that Sibelius (www.sibeliusmusic.com) was developing a website where composers could publish and sell their music online. I decided to add some of my works hoping that this venture would assist with the development of my career, as viewers could listen to and purchase my music.

A composer must still actively seek opportunities by creating contacts with people and ensembles in the ‘real’ world.This all sounds good in theory, but over the years the ranks of composers have increased to thousands on the Sibelius Music site and there are now over 50,000 scores. This amount of music makes it difficult to cut through the market as it’s difficult for people to find you. To date I have only sold one score from the Sibelius Music site.

I believe that documenting one’s music online can be a powerful and useful tool providing users with 24-hour access to your music, but this alone is not enough. A composer must still actively seek opportunities by creating contacts with people and ensembles in the ‘real’ world.

This is where having online documentation can be useful. Whenever I apply to competitions, development programs or submit repertoire to an ensemble I include a copy of my CV, which of course lists my representation on the Sibelius Music site. If someone likes my music and wants to investigate further they can do so easily and at their own leisure by looking at the site. Online documentation can be useful, not on its own but as part of an overall strategy of exposure.

Peter McNamara is currently working as a freelance composer and teacher at a school and tertiary level. He was composer-in-residence at the Campbelltown Arts Centre in 2006 and has been named the winner of the 2007 3MBS National Composer Awards.


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