But what is the state of sheet music, anyway? Well, while it is generally accompanied by recording, it’s not quite forgotten yet. But the market in the United States is being hit hard by recession and music education cutbacks.
A report by market research group IBISWorld, released at the end of last year, reported a time of transition for the industry. That report suggested the kind of transition to digital from print that the record industry has undergone – though this desirably-attractive release from Beck is an excellent example of why releasing on paper can have its own value.
Sheet music faces some challenges that even recording doesn’t. The industry report notes that musicians can turn to YouTube karaoke or instructional videos and avoid looking at scores at all – even before you get into free (often-illegal) guitar tab or file sharing. And music notation itself assumes that people know how to read music, which these alternatives don’t. (There’s a problem recording labels never had to address.)