Recently a conductor asked us for a quote for a particular Mozart symphony. After looking at the quote he said the orchestra had decided to ‘save money and get the symphony for free’ off the internet. It can be tricky balancing an ensemble's budget, but we thought it was very interesting that he mentioned he could get the symphony "for free" from the internet. In a later conversation he mentioned that it had taken him almost 20 hours of work to fix up the discrepancies between the full score and the set of parts, and even inconsistencies amongst the different parts themselves.
20 hours of work fixing a "free" score...what is that 20 hours of work actually worth? Working 20 hours at a casual job at the local bottle shop pays at least $23 an hour, so 20 hours work is $460. Not to mention all the printing and binding costs as well!
The price of that same symphony from us, the very finest edition from Bärenreiter Urtext, with full score, wind set and 126.96.36.199.1 strings, including FREE air courier delivery from overseas, arriving here six days later is......$226.00
And that score and set of parts is then in the orchestra’s library for many years to come!!
Free music = $460 in fixing time
Finest quality published edition = $226
A difference of $234
So how free is free?