Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sales Statement 2012

Every year, the good people at Alfred Publishing send me a report showing how many of each of my pieces have been sold in the past 12 months. It's always exciting to get that kind of quantifiable feedback. When I first started getting them, they were much simpler, but since the advent of digital printing and different combinations of scores and parts became available for sale, the sales reports have become a lot more complicated. So, filtering through the many lines of data, here are my top-selling sets of scores and parts within the U.S. for 2012:

1. Maharaja
2. North Pole Workshop
3. Avatar
4. Gauntlet
5. Agincourt

I submitted Maharaja with little hope of it ever getting published and was shocked that it was accepted. I just thought it was too odd or too technically demanding to be taken seriously. A year later, looking around YouTube, I was shocked to discover that it's popular. And now I'm shocked to learn exactly how popular - nearly twice the sales of my next-best-selling piece! New pieces for tend to make a big splash in their first year, but Maharaja goes beyond expectations.

Gauntlet always makes the top 5 list and I'm excited to see that it remains popular. North Pole Workshop was also a new piece this year and it's great to see that it did so well.  Avatar was the top-seller for the past two years and I credited that to people mistaking it for the theme to James Cameron's movie, but it still has a strong showing, so I think it's safe to start attributing success on its own terms. Agincourt is one of my personal favorites, so I'm thrilled that it remains popular. Gargoyles usually makes the top five list but this year it was edged out by just one sale. Another newer piece, Shadows of Venice, would have taken the #7 spot.

Looking at the data for foreign sales of scores and parts is a different story:

1. Maharaja & Shadows of Venice (tie)
3. Agincourt & Sneaking Suspicion (tie)
5. Mambo Incognito & Star of Valor (tie)

There's a different system for music education abroad, which often doesn't involve classroom music ensembles, so foreign sales are far lower than in the U.S. But still, this year's numbers show an increased interest in some of the newer selections. If I was shocked to see that Maharaja is popular among American orchestras, I'm floored to learn that it's popular in other parts of the world. Major-key novelty pieces tend to dominate this list, but it's wonderful to see music like Agincourt and Shadows of Venice catching on.

Here's one more list - domestic sales of scores:

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

This list is important because orchestras need to buy extra scores to give the judges when they go to state Solo & Ensemble contests and high sales mean a piece is popular at contests. It takes several years for a piece to build enough credibility to be included on contest lists, so big sellers here are usually older pieces, but it's good to see Agincourt surging ahead.

There are a lot more ways to break down the data - digital scores and parts, print licensing, MP3 downloads – but that's enough for now. If you bought one of my pieces in 2012 (in any format) I want to thank you for a great year!