29 September, 2011
Rat Fink

Aaaaand here we go again.

Wrap your brain around this little drama:

Back in August, I wrote an arrangement of a beautiful song, as I could not find an existing arrangement of it. Through one miracle or another, the chart sounds pretty good. So, I figured I’d better get permission to use it on a concert before I got too heavy into rehearsals.

Located the two composers, contacted their people for permission to perform. It took me a week of bothering them to get them to tell me who owned the print rights. It’s like it was classified information on a national security scale. (???) Once I jimmied that info out of them, I appealed to the Daddy of All School Publishing Companies for permission to arrange the song and for it to be (hopefully) published for sale for school and church use.

Two weeks later, they issue me a Permission to Arrange contract. Wait a minute, though…it’s not for print publishing. It’s just so I can make copies of my own arrangement to use for my choir alone. And to use my own chart, I get to pay $40 upfront, then pay these people $1 for every copy I make for rehearsal.


OK, that’s not what I asked. So I emailed the gal back, and asked her to give me the what-what on the printing rights. She wrote back and told me exactly what was on the contract she just sent me. Ooo, hey, guess what? I CAN READ. So I wrote her back and clarified — calmly and politely, but to the letter, and as if I had to make a 10-year-old understand it — exactly what information I was after.

No response.


I have no idea why the doors slam shut when I get to this one issue. I mean, almost nobody takes unsolicited works anyway, so I’m likely screwed regardless, but I honestly want to get to the bottom of this.

I emailed my friend Jerry in Georgia, who is a published arranger (many, many times over), and he wrote back and said he has over 30 of these kinds of things in print, and has never run into this.

I’m beginning to think I’m cursed.

So, I’m putting a call into the Great White School Music Throne today. Any wagers on how many desk droids I’ll have to wade through to be connected with someone who knows jack about this? Cripes.

Oh, and Honorable Mention today goes to CitiMortgage, for sending me a statement with the wrong amount on it for the fourth time. Thumbs up, yeah!

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29 September, 2011 4:27 pm

Cripes. We were supposed to go through people to do our own arrangements? Well… whadda know! I’ve had this argument with someone before. I can’t remember the outcome because I got so mad that my ears closed in on themselves. OH! You know what… it was absolutely with someone you used to work with… and it wasn’t Scruffy. I’m not sure if I got the full story of it, but let me just say that anything I arranged for my kids… we played. I seem to recall this person arguing with me about marching band music verses vocal music. I… Read more »

29 September, 2011 5:45 pm

Put a copywrite on it and send it in for publishing and see how fast you get a response. PK ReplyRat Fink Reply:September 29th, 2011 at 6:35 pmHello there, g/f! I would do that in a heartbeat, except there are hoops I have to jump through. Ugh. Just got off the phone 30 minutes ago with the gal whose firm represents the composer. She called Hal Leonard for me tonight and left a message for them to get back with her about it tomorrow. Nice lady! Maybe there’ll be a happy ending. Although…just about nobody accepts unsolicited manuscripts. Now really,… Read more »