©flickr / Dennis Skley

MusOpen

The non-profit organisation Musopen has just one simple mission: to provide free and open access to music, sheet music, and textbooks.

The non-profit organisation Musopen has just one simple mission, albeit one that in the current 'legal jungle' surrounding creators', providers', and artists' rights seems very ambitious: to provide free and open access to music, sheet music, and textbooks.

Simply using Beethoven in a classroom setting is not as easy as one might think: many pieces of sheet music are copyright-protected, and fees must be paid per copy used. Even though many of the composers have been dead for many years, music labels and publishers can still demand a lot of money for the ability to record or print out a given work.

For this reason, Aaron Dunn came up with the idea of re-recording the music of great composers such as Brahms, Tchaikovsky, or even Beethoven with artists and orchestras, and making the new versions available for free online. His Kickstarter project was a success, and in a short time Aaron had raised $70,000. Today, everyone is able to download, play back, perform, or modify the pieces, legally and free of charge, as under US law it is considered to be a public good.

Downloads, however, are restricted to 20 per day, unless users opt for a freemium account, which allows unlimited downloads for a fee. If they really decide to splash out, they can even commission new recordings of a piece of their choosing.

© Flickr / Trey Jones

© Flickr / Trey Jones