John Man is the head of Music Publisher’s Anonymous, one of the leading publication houses for classical music today. He is deeply worried about current state of the industry, and is keen to motivate more students to buy physical scores rather than somehow procuring them with their deviant youthful guile.
“I don’t really know what’s happened to make kids avoid my books,” he said. “For years I have followed a business model that completely ignores customer behaviour, and it’s gotten to the point now where I have to blame the younger generation for all my problems.”
Man says that although he has heard of computers and is aware that somehow it is possible to get music out of them (magic?) what he really wants is for that to stop being the case. “Everything about these fandangled computers says ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ and ‘useful’. I’m against that.”
We spoke to Sally McNally, local music student, who says that for her the main drawcard with the internet is the fact that when she needs to get music, she can. “For some reason, as a customer I prefer the easier, cheaper, and more convenient options,” she said. “I expect it will take Man a few more decades to realise this.”
Man was flummoxed by this concept. “But then how does someone manipulate her into spending more money than she needs to? For example, my favourite thing to do is to force people to buy the second volume of a song cycle by leaving out just one of the songs from the first volume. We all know that it is good to buy a book, so it must be good to buy two books! Buy books!”
Modern music specialists are particularly pleased with Man’s services, noting that whenever they want to buy a contemporary score, it is virtually impossible to acquire it via any means whatsoever. “When I can’t get the music at all,” says Bob Guy, a brilliant musician whose main interest is in contemporary music, “I know for sure that the copyright is being protected. That is what matters most.”
Man nodded sagely at this ethical principle. “We have a mantra at Music Publisher’s Anonymous. It goes: grant me the serenity to blame the things I cannot change, to change nothing no matter what… That’s it, I think.”