Score Follower (SF) is a public archive of videos of contemporary music scores that turn pages along with the accompanying recordings. Score Follower videos can be found on the YouTube channels: SCORE FOLLOWER and INCIPITSIFY. We curate, license, and produce all of our videos in house and receive permission from all involved parties.
The Score Follower Library (SFL) is a paid, faceted search tool that allows users to filter through Score Follower’s public archive of works by instrumentation, work duration, composer nationality, and other useful facets. Check out our demo here.
Our project curates some of the most exciting contemporary notated music written today. The composers and artists that we feature are among the very top in the music field boasting prizes and accomplishments such as the Grawemeyer Award, Siemens Music Prize, BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge, and Pulitzer Prize, among many others. We also curate 20th Century works that are considered essential repertoire in the history of western music (think Arnold Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire”). Through the Score Follower Library, any user can conduct a granular search of our catalogue of more than a 1000 works. Professors will be able to narrow their searches instantly as results populate in real time in order to locate a desired video to embed in their presentations. Music ensembles with fluid instrumentations will be able to search repertoire that fit their specific program requirements. Students will be exposed to new repertoire and new ways of notating their ideas. The Score Follower Library represents a meaningful way to keep one’s finger on the pulse of contemporary music making.
While there are many databases that host scores or recordings, our project is unique in offering both in a synchronized video format. This dramatically reduces the time and energy required to study a work in detail. Score Follower specializes in sourcing recent premieres from major and emerging composers to give the best overview of the field of contemporary and experimental music.
We upload 150-200 new videos every year, the majority of which are from recent premieres! We are always seeking new resources to be able to increase the frequency of our uploads, and as our project grows, so will the size of our collection.
As a non-profit organization, we are dedicated to the free dissemination of educational resources for contemporary and experimental music. It is important to us that our archive is public and free because our mission statement is founded on making new music available to anyone who is curious about it. The new music world feels insular without projects like ours, and solving this problem was our goal from the very beginning.
We also know that students and educators of this generation need to be able to access resources from a variety of devices and locations, and we want the user experience to be as frictionless as possible for all. Many users now expect resources with zero borders to access, rapid results, and weekly update schedules.
We chose to host all of our content on YouTube to the public as a feature, not a bug. From our internal studies and related research we have found that a growing number of faculty in the performing arts are using YouTube for a significant portion of their lecture slides and class examples. The two main reasons we believe drive this trend is convenience and shareability. YouTube apps are well maintained on just about any smart device that one might use to consume new music. Professors know students will engage with the material when there is less friction between them and the music, such as logging into accounts, and watching on proprietary web audio players. Finally, many professors like to create environments where their students are sharing their musical discoveries online. By posting “score videos” on YouTube, we are offering a level of convenience that is especially appealing for educators.
We have chosen our library model over the conventional “exclusive content” model because we ultimately think it is better that the content itself remains public.
YouTube is incredibly popular among millennials and Gen Z, however, YouTube’s built in search is not optimized for music discovery. Our faceted search tool allows users to filter score videos in ways that are impossible, or incredibly inefficient using the YouTube search bar, such as instrumentation, work duration, composer nationality, date of composition, etc.
Search bars are most useful when one knows the proper nouns they plan to fill it with. In a field like new music, where the works are by definition non-canonical, the search bar is rendered mostly useless to the uninitiated or those looking for something new. Our search tool facilitates active discovery of music that the user does not know exists. Unusual new music ensembles (think accordion, percussion, saxophone), can filter our archive by their exact trio and find works for their repertoire. Musicologists can, say, filter Iranian composers active in the year 2005. Composers can generate a playlist of works by their contemporaries featuring notational examples for gradually pulling out the stops of an organ. It is best to think of the Score Follower Library as a tool for discovery for both students who are still learning the field, and faculty needing a quick way of queuing up contemporary music works for their lectures.
Because of this, our library search is instrumental in being able to effectively navigate our large catalogue in addition to sorting out the vast number of subpar resources hosted on YouTube.
Because all of our work is publicly available on YouTube, you can watch our videos on any device or platform that supports YouTube! This includes any PC, tablet, or mobile device, many smart TVs, smart speakers, and game systems. Our website search tool works on all modern web browsers on both desktop and mobile.
The Library is for anyone with an interest or curiosity for contemporary music. We believe it will be most useful for composers, educators, performers, and musicologists seeking out exciting new works by a broad range of composers. The library may also be useful for those interested in digital or experimental art, as we have a large number of multimedia works as part of our Mediated Scores series.
Score Follower does not earn any ad revenue from digital streaming. We receive income from institutional subscription-based access to our faceted search tool (the Score Follower Library), as well as individual donations, and Patreon support. Our Patreon supporters receive perks such as individual access to the Score Follower Library, access to discord channels, access to our Minecraft server, merchandise, and the ability to submit multiple works to our call for scores. We work to secure grants to subsidize the cost of the library so it remains as affordable as possible to the largest variety of subscribers.
Approximately 15% of the works we upload are licensed with labels or distributors that collect ad revenue from our videos. Since we host our archive on YouTube, all streaming royalties are managed automatically through YouTube’s content ID mechanism. Therefore, if a composer’s music is licensed with a label/distributor, then the label/distributor will receive streaming royalties from advertisements on our videos, and then share those royalties with the copyright holder (i.e., the composer) according to the digital streaming conditions stated in their contract agreement. The remaining 85% of the works we publish are completely ad free, based on a non-profit educational model, meaning that neither Score Follower nor copyright holders receive ad revenue from those videos.
If a composer is interested in earning streaming royalties for their recordings on our channels (or elsewhere on the internet) however, then they would need to register their work through a digital music distributor. Once the recording is registered, ads will appear on our videos, and the revenue will go to the composer. That being said, the cost for registering a work will very often outweigh the passive income gained through those streaming royalties in a field like New Music. As a general estimate, if a copyright holder expects to receive over 12k views on our channel, and other platforms, then they may begin to see small margins of profit by registering their works. As of 2021, regardless of whether or not a track is recognized by YouTube’s Content ID, Score Follower receives no ad revenue from any of our videos.
Score Follower will always publicize purchase links for recordings and/or scores that are commercially available and provided to us. Those will display in the description box of the YouTube video, as well as on the respective web page on our website.
Score Follower has several major projects that serve the collection, including our FollowMyScore Call for Works, Mediated Scores, Featured Composer Series, and the Classics Series. Additionally, we have a team of expert curators that source works by reaching out to composers, ensembles, record labels, and publishers. We find this model supports a wide variety of works that includes the latest premieres by both established and early-career composers in addition to pieces critical to the history of contemporary music. Score Follower prioritizes composers from diverse backgrounds and seeks to champion their work.
As a small non-profit largely powered by volunteer work, our organizational focus is directed at learning about and implementing anti-racist policies as an ongoing effort. Our curatorial team is intentionally seeking out work by underrepresented and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) composers. Our directorial team actively seeks anti-racist training and meets regularly to discuss Score Follower’s contribution to the field of contemporary music in this regard.
We can provide access to the library either through domain whitelisting or IP range access—VPNs, EZproxy, OpenAthens etc. We are happy to work with institutions to customize solutions to their needs. Fill out this form to inquire about gaining access for your institution.
Score Follower is currently working to provide MARC Records by the end of 2021. Because our catalogue is composed of derivative works of scores, recordings, and various multimedia, we are working to develop a cataloging standard for our videos.
Score Follower determines pricing for institutions based on the Carnegie Classifications of Higher Education. If you do not know your institutions classification you may be able to find it here. If your institution is not listed please contact us to receive a quote.
Very Large: All institutions classified by Carnegie as Research I. ($1350)
Large: All institutions classified by Carnegie as Research II or Doctoral I. ($1200)
Medium: Doctoral II and Masters I institutions. ($1000)
Small: Masters II and Bachelors I institutions ($800)
Very Small: All Bachelors II institutions or Doctoral II, Masters I & Bachelors I institutions with enrollments below 1,000. ($700)
Independent: Independent Music and Art Schools ($400, negotiable based on other factors)