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.
Paul Riggenbach, born in 1960 in Bern, learned the craft of writing music through many different stations along his journey of musical experience: first as a music teacher, then as a copyist and arranger, later as a career pianist, and finally as a composer. His theoretical background can be attested by his PhD in musicology, which has also led to the publications of his writings in a series of books on music education by the publisher ‘Odradec’.
In the background there are a lot of people who are involved in the production and distribution of jazzinotes. You may read about this 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 then jazzinotes became a limited liability company. A large online store was established and sheet music was prepared: Fine-tuned with numerous licensing agreements. Then, extensive marketing followed, but the launch of our online store stuttered.
The brutal reality of disappointing sales figures had us on the brink and despite numerous restructuring measures, jazzinotes was already on the verge of bankruptcy by the end of 2013. Such an evolution meant that only one of its founders remained – he with the musical know-how, but with limited business acumen. With little choice and severely boot-strapped, jazzinotes had to start again: Drastically, expenditure was cut across the board.
- Advertising was reduced drastically and where money was scarce, creativity trumped traditional marketing. Simple but effective newsletters largely replaced adwords and print advertising and 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.
- Then, the goal was no longer excessive turnover, but rather a sound, stable and blossoming 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 limited itself more and more to in-house productions and by 2019, all commercial articles i.e. articles from other publishers, were gradually 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 were offered as download only.
- Furt jazzinotes signed more and more joint venture agreements with artists as well as smaller companies. This can also be used to generate revenue outside the web shop. And working with partners in the music sector is an asset for both sides in many ways.
- Storage and distribution of the remaining mail order items, namely in-house productions of sheet music books and books, was transferred to a competent order fulfillment company: “MVG Medienproduktion und Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH” in Aachen.
- The prices of download editions, particularly in the pop area, have not been increased, but on the contrary were reduced - in the hope that the step from free download to paid high-quality download score edition will also be passable for people with smaller budgets.
- The prices for books and music books, which have been set low from the start, haven’t been increased either, so that young people in particular can afford them.
- A long-term part-time employee left the company at the end of 2018. He takes over holiday replacement on a fee basis.
* To put it in a nutshell, jazzinotes has over the years focused more and more on its core competencies (and therefore its core business): creating high-quality transcriptions, arrangements and compositions.
The initially dark red figures quickly brightened up and - already in 2014 - jazzinotes was operating in the black. From 2015 on, the owner of jazzinotes was able to grant himself a small income for his work, which has been increasing slightly ever since. Also the loss carry-forward is slowly being reduced... But time and again there are innovations in the music score market that might force jazzinotes to drastic changes - or open up unforeseen new opportunities. The Internet, with all its legal, technical and political implications, on which the success of jazzinotes with its predominantly digital products depends, is changing rapidly. For example, the web shop system “Magento”, on which the jazzinotes web shop is based, was acquired by “Adobe” in 2018, forcing web shop operators to make massive new investments that are impossible for jazzinotes to cope with. Therefore, the web shop may soon have to be rebuilt in a different way. But even this will not cause the little ship called “jazzinotes” to capsize on the high seas of the internet. In any case, the history of jazzinotes has not yet come to an end. Maybe you have any suggestions or feedback on this? These are always welcome! By the way, we are interested in further joint ventures. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any ideas in this direction.