Monday, October 20, 2008

Royalty Statement (Part 2)

The second part of my annual royalty statement is for the MP3 downloads available at Here are my top five downloaded songs:

1. Gauntlet
2. Gargoyles
3. Avatar
4. Las Mariposas Exoticas
5. Elementals

I'm proud to say that Gauntlet is currently the #1 most-downloaded original song on (only behind an arrangement of the theme from Halo). Gargoyles is also in the top ten.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Royalty Statement

I meant to write about it earlier, but am just now getting to it: about a month ago I got my royalty statement! Every year, my publisher lets me know how many copies of each of my pieces were sold in the past year. They even break it down between the full packet of score and parts and just the scores (which are available separately). They further break it down between domestic sales (within the U.S.) and foreign sales (everywhere else).

The new statement let me know that my first published piece, Gauntlet, is popular. This never fails to amaze me. Also exciting is that the score for Gauntlet is also a big seller - probably because it's now a staple on contest lists and orchestras need extra scores for the judges.

According to the numbers, here are my top five domestic sellers in the 2007 - 2008 school year:

1. Mambo Incognito
2. Agincourt
3. Gauntlet
4. Gargoyles
5. Hot Potato

This is normal - Gauntlet and Gargoyles often sell big and the most recent additions to the catalog are always popular. Here are the five top-selling scores:

1. Gauntlet
2. Gargoyles
3. Las Mariposas Exoticas
4. Agincourt
5. Avatar

This is exciting. I know that the top three are on a lot of states' contest lists, but the other two are newer and higher sales of scores indicates that they're gaining in popularity. Finally, here are the top selling pieces in foreign markets:

1. Mambo Incognito
2. Hot Potato
3. Avatar & Lemon Twist (tie)
4. Zydeco Two-Step
5. Violet's Tango

I'm not sure what to make of this. Apparently, foreign orchestras have much different tastes than U.S. groups. It should be noted that my foreign sales are a tiny fraction of my U.S. sales. I've heard of performances in Australia, Japan, and Germany, but perhaps Alfred Publishing doesn't have the presence abroad that it does in America.

If you're interested in helping me out and boosting my '08 numbers, by all means point your browser to or your favorite retailer ( or perhaps) and do a search for "Doug Spata" to access my complete catalog!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Got My Proofs

I'm up to the next step in the exciting publication process - my editor sent me proofs of the engraved music. When I submit new music, I mail a recording and a printed Finale file of each piece. When they tell me which pieces they've selected, I e-mail the digital Finale file their way. They then mark it up with changes (more on that later) and send it to the engravers, who make a final, finished version of the score and parts. So in this step of the process, my editors send those engraved versions back to me to double-check and make sure everything is correct and there are no typos before hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent printing out all the music.

It's not a foolproof method, but in my experience it is 99% effective. In my ten years as a part of the process, there's only been one serious mistake: in "Flambeaux," some of the measures got mixed up near the beginning in the 'Cello and Bass parts. I didn't notice until I heard the recording and I went back to look at my original file and the proofs they sent. Everything matched, so it must have gotten mixed up between my approval and the final engraving.

So this week, I received proofs for "A Hero's Welcome" and "Quicksilver." The editor, Bob Phillips, had a few editions, which he penciled into my original score. They never make changes to the content - only to little things. Mostly he recommended more bow markings and fewer double-bars. Also, I prefer to use ties, where Bob recommends using more dotted notes. Other than that, it's pretty straightforward.I only found a few minor changes - two misplaced bow markings and a missing dynamic.

Sometimes pieces check out with no changes at all. A few times, it requires a complete overhaul. As it was explained to me my first time out, the folks who do the engraving don't necessarily know music, so besides obvious stuff like wrong notes, clefs might be mis-aligned, articulations missing o,r sharps and flats in key signatures might appear in the wrong places.

I'll be looking for the proofs for my third piece , Porcupine Pantomime. The next step is to send it to press.