jazzinotes is a reaction to a deficiency in the music industry. Sheet music in the pop/rock/jazz business has in many ways left much to be desired:
1. Sheet music has for a long time been considered a bit old fashioned, and as such has been neglected by major publishers of sheet music or even outsourced to outside companies. This has led to the fact that even for many popular songs there is either no sheet music in existence or the only sheet music available isn’t suited for practical use. This brings us to the next point.
2. The most common form of sheet music available for purchase in shops is found in songbooks in the form PVG, or Piano-Vocal-Guitar. Such sheet music is comprised of three systems: voice, piano (right hand) and piano (left hand). However, the piano parts have often little to do with what can be heard on the original recordings. The right hand often doubles the vocal part, resulting in something hardly recognizable when compared to the original.
Even for instrumental music, you often can’t find sheet music which really reflects the original recordings.
jazzinotes wishes to address this situation by offering sheet music which either directly transcribes the original recording (called Note-for-Note), or as original compositions reflecting the exact ideas of the composer, or as arrangements sufficient to meet the practical demands of music-making. As such, the name ‘jazzinotes’ has a double-meaning: Jazz-in-notes and Jazzy-notes!
The quality of the jazzinotes sheet music is extremely high. That's why we are able to offer the jazzinotes guarantee.
Although the focus of jazzinotes is Jazz, many other genres are also represented. jazzinotes’ repertoire grows larger with every month, so it’s worthwhile to check in regularly to see what’s new! You can also receive information about new releases by signing up for our newsletter. Your subscription can be cancelled at any time.
When sheet music is corresponding to the original recording, the interpreter (artist) on the recording should be of central importance. However, in the sheet music industry, according to international law, only the composer and lyricist are entitled to royalties. The interpreters are completely left out. jazzinotes intended to change this by paying royalties to the interpreters, too: at first 3%, then an additional 1% after every profitable year until it reaches a percentage of at least 7% (which is also the standard value given to authors of books in the publishing industry). But the effort for the jazzinotes administration to do this was enourmous and the sums to pay low. And most of the interpreters didn't answer to our requests for their account relationship. 2018 we had to accept that we couldn't fight against this unjustice as a small company and gave up our first idea. But the problem is still virulent and needs to be discussed. If you have any ideas: please contact us.
WHO IS JAZZINOTES?
jazzinotes is a very small company: a one man business.
Born in 1960 in Bern, Paul Riggenbach came to master his craft through these defining periods of his musical journey: First as a music teacher. Then as a copyist and arranger, and later as a career pianist and composer. His theoretical background includes a PhD in Musicology, which spawned several publications of his work in a series of educational releases published by ‘Odradec’.
Having contributed tirelessly and brilliantly to its ongoing success over the years, there are several people and entities behind the production and distribution of jazzinotes that need special mention. More on our journey below:
THE HISTORY OF JAZZINOTES
It was in 2011 when two idea-driven friends came together to form jazzinotes, a simple partnership in German commercial law built on optimism and drive. Its founders, with backgrounds in business administration and music had a vision: Unprecedented growth in music score sales that were enough to bring on a start-up loan.
In 2012 jazzinotes became a limited liability company. A large online store was
established and sheet music prepared, fine-tuned with numerous licensing agreements put in place. Then however, despite extensive marketing, the launch of the store largely failed, which brought on worrying times. The brutal reality of disappointing sales figures by 2013 had us on the edge of bankruptcy despite numerous restructuring measures that meant only one of its founders remained – he with the musical know-how.
With little choice then and severely boot-strapped, jazzinotes had to start again. Drastically, expenditure was cut across the board and new measures were implemented to set jazzinotes apart from the competition to remain relevant and competitive, and ultimately to forge a new path as a leader in the industry:
- Advertising was reduced drastically and where money was scarce, creativity trumped traditional marketing. Simple but effective newsletters largely replaced adwords and print advertising and jazzinotes became a regular feature on Newsletter2Go. Facebook was also instrumental in spreading the word about new releases, but most significantly jazzinotes soon became a member of Trusted, bringing peace of mind to potential customers and consumer protection.
- The goal was no longer excessive turnover, but rather a sound, stable and healthy company. A competent, young software engineer, building for his own company - CustomGento - brought stability and flawless navigation to a new and mobile-friendly webstore. Furthermore, the company confined itself more and more to in-house productions and by 2019, all commercial articles, that is articles from other publishers, were discontinued.
- Other business decisions made commercial and business sense: Solo editions by mail were discontinued and bundle items (that is, combinations of mail order and download editions) were no longer for sale following low demand. As of 2019, they are offered for download only.
- Successfully, jazzinotes has focused on joint venture agreements with artists as well as smaller companies. This direction has been used to generate revenue beyond the web shop. Working with partners in the music sector has been an asset for all involved.
- Storage and distribution of the remaining mail order items, namely in-house productions of sheet music and books, has been transferred to fulfilment company MVG Medienproduktion und Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH based in Aachen.
- Prices of download editions, particularly in the pop genre, were reduced with the vision that the leap from free downloads to paid, high-quality download score editions, would offer feasible solutions to buyers with smaller budgets.
- The prices of books and music books - set low from the start - have remained constant so that young people in particular can benefit.
- In 2018, a member of our company moved on, but remains a consultant during key periods, which has proven an asset as we seek expertise to keep well-oiled year round.
Put simply, jazzinotes has transitioned into a company that is highly stream-lined, always focusing on its core business: creating high-quality transcriptions, arrangements and compositions.
Since 2015, jazzinotes has become a modest, yet profitable enterprise bringing work and satisfaction to all who have invested their time and belief into its construction, in particular its founder.
Not only does it pride itself on its viability and success as a small company – but also its ability to evolve and remain a leader in the industry. With the ever-changing landscape of the internet, the music score market in particular will continue to force jazzinotes to remain vigilant and relevant – to remain ever-aware of its competitiveness globally and digitally. As such, it will continue to bring appropriate innovation to serve its markets efficiently and proudly.
As always, feedback, as much self-realisation, will keep us on our toes, so please feel free to engage us with any suggestions. For those looking for innovative partnerships, our door is always open!