Composers and publishers in Clementi's London

Rowland, David (2018). Composers and publishers in Clementi's London. In: Golding, Rosemary ed. The Music Profession in Britain, 1780-1920: New Perspectives on Status and Identity. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 32–52.



This chapter focusses on the relationship between London’s composers and publishers from c.1770 to 1830, with particular examples from the career of Muzio Clementi. During the course of his career London’s music-publishing industry boomed and composers responded by producing regular streams of works tailored to the needs of a growing musical market. At the same time copyright law began to be clarified as it related music, a circumstance which significantly affected the relationship between composers and publishers. This chapter analyses that relationship by examining the strengths and weaknesses of various publishing arrangements in which copyrights were owned variously by composers, publishers, or third parties. It uses Clementi as an example to show that composers rarely benefitted financially from the various publishing arrangements in which they were engaged, a circumstance that prompted a number of musicians to enter the music trade themselves. The chapter also examines international publishing arrangements, showing how copyrights were bought and sold in an environment in which no formal international copyright agreements existed.

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