Music Publishing Podcast

Nuts and bolts discussions on the business and practical aspects of being a composer in the 21st century, with host Dennis Tobenski.
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Music Publishing Podcast


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Now displaying: June, 2016
Jun 21, 2016

Dale is a composer whose career I’ve enjoyed following over the years. I’m always intrigued by the projects that she takes on, and I love the interesting and super-savvy ways that she tackles each one.

In the course of our conversation, we talked about:

  • How performance is the best rehearsal for recording
  • The benefits of long-term musical relationships
  • Taking advantage of your own enthusiasm
  • Touring an album
  • Kickstarting a project
  • Using preorders to fund an album
  • The potential dangers of Kickstarter rewards
  • Imposing artificial deadlines on projects
  • Hybrid publishing
  • Using traditional publishing to boost sales of your self-published works
  • The concept of the “loss leader”
  • Curating a series of scores
  • The gatekeepers of publishing: the good and the bad
  • Taking a methodical approach to your career, and not rushing after everything at once
  • Saying “no” to opportunities that are a poor fit
  • Being prepared for success
  • Accidentally oversaturating the scene
  • Newsletters
  • Being smart and engaging in your newsletter content
  • Using newsletters to increase engagement with your audience
  • Adding people to your list without their permission
  • Putting together commissioning consortia yourself
  • Writing “companion pieces”


Dale Trumbore
Snow White Turns Sixty - Gillian Hollis & Dale Trumbore
Choral Arts Initiative: “How to Go On: The Choral Works of Dale Trumbore”
Dale Warland Choral Series
MusicSpoke: Choral Arts Initiative Series

Jun 14, 2016

For this week's episode, I sat down with San Jose-based composer and engraver Noah Luna to talk about the importance of having professional-quality scores and parts. He offered some great advice on some little things that composers can do to improve the look and - most importantly - the readability of their materials.

In the course of the hour, we chatted about:

  • getting a professional eye on your scores/parts
  • leaving time for proofreading
  • the various communities that engravers/copyists serve
  • how high quality scores facilitate rehearsals
  • how poor engraving can be costly to ensembles
  • the rise of digital devices in performance
  • trusting your software too much
  • listening to music librarians
  • MOLA standards for margins, staff size, page size, and page turns
  • getting feedback from performers
  • being consistent in your score layout
  • leaving your compositional process on the page, and how that can negatively impact readability
  • how sometimes you just have to use Staples or FedEx
  • font usage
  • page layout
  • the idea of taking engraving/copying lessons
  • getting help and building your team

Noah Luna
BCP Music
The Highwayman (by Noah Luna)
Elaine Gould: Behind Bars
Gardner Read: Music Notation
Cheap Impostor

Jun 7, 2016

Erin Rogers is a super-talented composer and saxophonist who I’ve known for a couple of years. We met for the first time over lunch many years ago while I was in the early stages of writing the Composer’s Guide, where we had a wonderful conversation about publishing and composer career issues that has always stuck with me. Our paths haven’t crossed much in the intervening years, so I was glad to have a reason to reconnect with Erin by inviting her on the show. And boy was I glad I did!

This is the first show that I’ve done not just live, but in-person, as well! We attempted to broadcast as per usual, but I discovered after the fact that Google Hangouts stopped actually broadcasting after the first 20 minutes…leaving another 70 that never went out to YouTube! Fortunately, as I’ve learned about doing this whole podcasting thing, I’ve started recording the audio on my own end (and asking my guests to record theirs, as well), so the entire conversation was captured on my laptop, and wasn’t lost due to the screw-ups of our Google Overlords.

After we stopped our broadcast, Erin and I hung out for several more hours, still talking along the same lines as on the show. We poured ourselves another drink and kept talking at my apartment, then went out for dinner, and kept the conversation going there. A part of me wishes we’d “kept the cameras rolling” as it were, because we covered lots of fertile ground.

During our recorded conversation, however, we managed to talk about:

  • Social media
  • How a score isn’t always finished until it’s performed, or until the composer dies
  • Proofreading your own scores
  • The importance of a second pair of eyes on your scores
  • Allowing time for proofreading and part extraction
  • Having the resources of a publisher behind you vs. taking full control yourself
  • Engraving/formatting standards
  • Setting up your scores and front matter
  • Handling perusal scores
  • Licensing performances
  • Being a performing composer
  • Starting an ensemble for the love of the music
  • Following established models, keeping low overhead, and working with the right people
  • Licensing works for performances
  • Some potential pitfalls of working with traditional publishers
  • Some of the new models for working with publishers

Erin Rogers
New Thread Quartet