Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Paying them only encourages them...

Have you ever wondered how the composers and publishers of music used in liturgy (hymns, Mass settings, etc) are paid for the time and effort involved in writing, producing and distributing their work?

So asks Elizabeth Harrington in her latest column. The answer in my case is "no", because I have spent many hours filling out copyright licence records etc. But what I do wish is that we could only return to those "Once upon a time" days that Elizabeth describes when "parishes purchased sets of hymnbooks for the assembly to use". Nowadays its something new every week, and unless it was composed and published since the 1960's it doesn't even get a look in for the parish.

Church music publishers and composers who make their living from flogging their wares onto the Christian community have a lot to answer for with regard to the destruction of a shared communal memory of sacred song.

Perhaps if we stopped paying them, they would stop doing it and go away?

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