This is a footnote to my “Missed Opportunities” post, in which I urged music schools — and music students, even if the schools don’t take any action — to promote student recitals, and in fact to develop a new audience (of the students’ own age) that never came to these recitals at all.
Part of my plan, if the schools got involved, was to do video streams of every recital, and then to archive these videos on the schools’ websites. But here I should have mentioned some inescapable issues with streaming rights. You can’t just stream copyrighted works, or at least you can’t without permission. Which means I’ve had to modify my plan, adding the following to my earlier post:
But of course there are rights issues here. A school might not be able to stream performances of copyrighted works, or even performances of older music in the public domain, if the musicians used a copyrighted critical edition. Of course, you could get permission to stream these pieces, but then you have two problems. First, it’ll cost you. Second, the paperwork involved can be killer (as I’ve heard firsthand from a school administrator who deals with these questions.
So does that kill any thought of streaming? I don’t think so. For one thing, these problems may work themselves out (just as orchestras have worked out with their musicians ways to make recordings, which for decades were impossibly expensive because the musicians had to be paid extra to make them). Once the idea — even the necessity — of streaming starts to spread, we might get momentum towards making streaming easier to do. Certainly composers and publishers of new works stand to benefit here. What composer wouldn’t want archived videos of performances of her music?
And then I don’t see why partial streaming wouldn’t work now. Stream and archive everything in the public domain, while you only do short excerpts — allowable, I’d think, under the standard concept of fair use — of copyrighted works. Thus my idea could, I’d think, be put into motion right now, just as I’ve said, even while the rights issues still remain difficult.