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#2968331 - 01/11/19 08:45 AM Sharing Sibelius files
BluMunk Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 755
Loc: Burlington, VT
A cabaret/burlesque group I work with and do some arranging for is doing a show at an event with a house band.

I provided pdfs of my charts for the song they're doing, but have been asked for the Sibelius files.

I feel . . . odd about it. It's not like I got paid specifically for this chart (though I did get paid as music director), but it does represent my work. The pdfs have my name and contact info on them, but that stuff could easily be erased from the original .sib files.

Am I unreasonable? Do people usually share their original files without worrying about it too much?

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#2968335 - 01/11/19 09:01 AM Re: Sharing Sibelius files [Re: BluMunk]
BernMeister Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/11/05
Posts: 307
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: BluMunk
...I provided pdfs of my charts for the song they're doing, but have been asked for the Sibelius files...It's not like I got paid specifically for this chart (though I did get paid as music director), but it does represent my work...


You've answered your own question. Unless they thought that the charts came included with your fee as MD, get paid for the chart. Then, you can feel more comfortable handing over the Sib file. In the future, I would be very specific about this. Personally, I never give out my charts otherwise.

As for the pdf contents getting erased...there are ways of printing a pdf image instead. This would make it more difficult to modify the pdf itself. Still, it's a matter of mutual respect on their part, not to remove your name and contact info from the original document.

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#2968343 - 01/11/19 09:28 AM Re: Sharing Sibelius files [Re: BluMunk]
Reezekeys Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 3088
Loc: NYC area
I would be interested in hearing them explain why they want the Sibelius files as opposed to PDFs. If they wanted the option to change keys (due to personnel changes or any other reason), or change the arrangement, they could very easily ask you to do it. If someone were to hire me to do charts, and I gave them PDFs but that wasn't good enough for them Ė I would need to hear a very plausible reason.

Producing good charts is a skill not everyone with a computer and notation program possesses. I know I spend a lot of time making my charts accurate, logical, clear, and easy to follow. I would not normally give away my original notation program files unless there was a specific understanding arrived at in advance of doing the work.

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#2968348 - 01/11/19 10:12 AM Re: Sharing Sibelius files [Re: Reezekeys]
Sam CA Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/05/18
Posts: 248
Loc: Los Angeles
It's not a standard practice to ask for actual scoring files, unless there's a mutual agreement between parties. It doesn't matter if you got paid or not. I don't know about this particular situation, but if you do this type of work a lot, you should just come up with your own policy.

If you buy a score from any publishers, they won't give you the native scoring session file. Some don't even give you the pdf. They'll only let you print the file.
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#2968349 - 01/11/19 10:21 AM Re: Sharing Sibelius files [Re: Sam CA]
ElmerJFudd Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/30/14
Posts: 6818
Loc: USA, greater NY area
This is definitely something you should agree upon up front.
Yes it is typical to include pdf, sib, and midi. Obviously because someone might like your arrangements but not have exactly your instrumentation. And or need to create a medley or make alterations to suit.

If your fee is too low to include the sib and midi then you need to raise your price.
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#2968357 - 01/11/19 10:44 AM Re: Sharing Sibelius files [Re: ElmerJFudd]
BluMunk Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 755
Loc: Burlington, VT
Cool. Thanks for the feedback so far, all.

This is a company that I've music directed for four years (and am still involved with as a musician), and generally the job description is more of "artistic partner" than "provide X work for X money."

And, the company has never asked for charts after the fact. My job has been to create and deliver the live performance; some songs I chart, others I write out lead sheets, and others I'll just have the band listen and learn, or we'll develop together in rehearsal, depending on what we need to get a quality, consistent outcome.

I'll follow up and ask what they want it for. My guess is that the house band is a different instrumentation than our original band. I'm happy to provide pdfs of alternate instrumentation/keys, but since they'll be performing the song for my group with no rehearsals in advance, I can't imagine that they'd need to (or that they should) be making any alterations to the piece as originally done.

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#2968358 - 01/11/19 10:55 AM Re: Sharing Sibelius files [Re: ElmerJFudd]
Reezekeys Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 3088
Loc: NYC area
Sam: It's not a standard practice to ask for actual scoring files

Elmer: Yes it is typical to include pdf, sib, and midi

Glad to see we're all in agreement! smile Elmer: typical where, or by whom, or in what situations? Professional music scoring services? Not that I'm aware of. For myself, I've never been asked to provide midifiles or notation program score files. I'm a little incredulous that someone in the business would do it as a matter of course.

I'm not necessarily a "professional scoring service", but I am a full-time musician. When I do charts for someone, they tell me what the key, arrangement, etc. is gonna be and I produce it for them as specified. I'm selling my services for writing a particular chart or set of charts. Any changes, now or later, those are new charts, and are on their dime. I retain the score files.

Of course, if someone hired me from the outset specifically to produce Sibelius files for them, and we came to a satisfactory agreement as to compensation, that's another animal. That's not quite the OP's case though; he made PDFs, then was asked for Sibelius files.

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#2968370 - 01/11/19 12:09 PM Re: Sharing Sibelius files [Re: Reezekeys]
EscapeRocks Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/12/03
Posts: 5092
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: Reezekeys
Sam: It's not a standard practice to ask for actual scoring files

Elmer: Yes it is typical to include pdf, sib, and midi

Glad to see we're all in agreement! smile Elmer: typical where, or by whom, or in what situations? Professional music scoring services? Not that I'm aware of.



Maybe it's an East Coast (Elmer) vs West Coast(Sam) thing? Sharks vs Jets.. ? grin



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#2968374 - 01/11/19 12:29 PM Re: Sharing Sibelius files [Re: Reezekeys]
Sam CA Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/05/18
Posts: 248
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Reezekeys
Sam: It's not a standard practice to ask for actual scoring files

Elmer: Yes it is typical to include pdf, sib, and midi

Glad to see we're all in agreement! smile Elmer: typical where, or by whom, or in what situations? Professional music scoring services? Not that I'm aware of. For myself, I've never been asked to provide midifiles or notation program score files. I'm a little incredulous that someone in the business would do it as a matter of course.

I'm not necessarily a "professional scoring service", but I am a full-time musician. When I do charts for someone, they tell me what the key, arrangement, etc. is gonna be and I produce it for them as specified. I'm selling my services for writing a particular chart or set of charts. Any changes, now or later, those are new charts, and are on their dime. I retain the score files.

Of course, if someone hired me from the outset specifically to produce Sibelius files for them, and we came to a satisfactory agreement as to compensation, that's another animal. That's not quite the OP's case though; he made PDFs, then was asked for Sibelius files.


That's right. When you buy a score, you're not entitled to the midi and the session file. In some cases, you're not even allowed to generate pdf files which is really annoying.

With work for hire type of situation anything goes.
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#2968397 - 01/11/19 03:00 PM Re: Sharing Sibelius files [Re: Reezekeys]
ElmerJFudd Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/30/14
Posts: 6818
Loc: USA, greater NY area
Originally Posted By: Reezekeys
Sam: It's not a standard practice to ask for actual scoring files

Elmer: Yes it is typical to include pdf, sib, and midi

Glad to see we're all in agreement! smile Elmer: typical where, or by whom, or in what situations? Professional music scoring services? Not that I'm aware of. For myself, I've never been asked to provide midifiles or notation program score files. I'm a little incredulous that someone in the business would do it as a matter of course.

I'm not necessarily a "professional scoring service", but I am a full-time musician. When I do charts for someone, they tell me what the key, arrangement, etc. is gonna be and I produce it for them as specified. I'm selling my services for writing a particular chart or set of charts. Any changes, now or later, those are new charts, and are on their dime. I retain the score files.

Of course, if someone hired me from the outset specifically to produce Sibelius files for them, and we came to a satisfactory agreement as to compensation, that's another animal. That's not quite the OP's case though; he made PDFs, then was asked for Sibelius files.


Hi, Reeze. Just common in arranging services. Arranger has a library of files pre-made and sells them as is. Or has been hired to arrange a specific song for a specific instrumentation. Premade stuff tends to be a set price as is. And custom stuff per hour. Way cheaper to buy from stock library, get the sib and change instrumentation for your needs. If you want the arranger to make the changes, again per hour. But thereís more than one way to skin a cat.

In OPís situation, I think itís different. Sounds more like heís the band director. No I donít think Iíd share my scores with the agency or house without charging a fee per song as described above.
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#2968432 - 01/11/19 08:24 PM Re: Sharing Sibelius files [Re: ElmerJFudd]
MoodyBluesKeys Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 3529
Loc: eastern North Carolina
An additional potential problem: the sib file does not have the arranger's name and information removed, but is changed so that it reflects poorly on the arranger's reputation.

Clients get the product, not the tools needed to produce the product, unless that is specifically what was requested and negotiated.
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