Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kimiko Ishizaka's novel, replicable business model for an open Bach score and recording

Check out pianist Kimiko Ishizaka's recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. The recording and digital score are in the public domain, under a Creative Commons Zero license. Feel free to listen to, download and share the music and tweek the score.

Excellent -- but how does one fund such a project? It began as a Kickstarter project that started with a $15,000 goal and raised $23,748. The funds were used to create the new score and produce a studio recording.

The recordings are now in the public domain, and Ms. Ishizaka has a Web site which lists her forthcoming concerts. No doubt her concert income will increase as a result of this project. She is also publicizing the recording by offering a free double CD to anyone who will write a thoughtful and honest review of the recording and publish it on their blog, in a music forum, on a public Facebook page, etc.

The score is also online and open. You can download it, modify it, or "play" it on the site, as shown here.

Appropriately, the score was produced using the open source MuseScore notation software from

I am not a musician -- not even a great lover of music -- but I find this project and the Musescore tools and community totally exciting!

Ms. Ishizaka is experimenting with new ways to make a living as a musician in the Internet era. (Her effort reminds me of Louis CK, who marketed a recording of his comedy concert direct to the consumer). One can imagine 1,000 scores and recordings. Kickstarter cannot provide funding for all of them, but universities, foundations and organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts and its world-wide counterparts surely could.

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