Aaron Dunn of US not-for-profit organisation Musopen has launched a Kickstarter campaign in a bid to raise $75,000 to fund the recording of the complete works of Frédéric Chopin. If successful, the venture would make the recordings available under a creative commons licence, meaning anyone could utilise them for free.
Chopin’s music, of course, is out of copyright, he being long dead, though most available recordings of his work will still enjoy copyright protection, so a licence would be needed from whichever label released the record if anyone wanted to play it in public, or sync it to a video, or whatever.
Dunn’s Musopen, which aims to improve access and exposure for public domain music, previously raised $68,000 to record and release recordings of works by Beethoven, Brahms, Bach and Mozart, similarly released so that they can be used by all for free. According to The Atlantic, those recordings have since been used on TV, in ads, as hold music, and on Wikipedia pages about the composers.
Dunn’s original Kickstarter campaign smashed its original $11,000 target, and the latest fundraising round is already nearly two thirds of the way there. Though, he says, the support isn’t the traditional classical community (who might fear the impact on their record sales), but younger fans of classical music.
He told The Atlantic: “I wish all the professional orchestras I reached out to, to record for this project, knew how many of my donors are between the ages of eighteen and 35. They are desperate to develop a younger audience, yet are steadfastly opposed to trying new things that are likely to gain interest, sticking with Facebook pages or Twitter accounts”.