About Swirly Music

I launched Swirly Music in 2014 out of frustration with the options available that supposedly enabled self-publishing composers to sell their music online. Armed with a lot of opinions and some background as a web developer, I felt I could do a better job than what was being done at the time. Among my complaints then:

  • The websites of those existing services were objectively terrible. Typically, the customer could not view the whole score – if any of it at all, and/or there was no option to include media, so the customer could hear what the piece sounded like. They were also hard to navigate and confusing.
  • There was no transparency allowing composers to know who was buying their music. Self-publishing composers need to be able to forge connections with people who are interested in their music! …to say nothing of the need to follow up about performances that need to be reported to rights organizations.
  • The revenue sharing models varied – with some offering composers less than 50% of the sales revenue for their work. (Noted – they were still a better deal than is often the case with traditional publishing.)

In the time since then, a number of more appealing and composer-friendly service have emerged, along with Swirly Music, and I’m happy to share this space with them. Composers should have a choice, and Swirly Music is not exclusive.

Celebrating 10 years in 2024, I have reimagined and rebuilt the website with today’s environment in mind. Here are some of the things that I hope will make Swirly Music stand out:

  • A non-profit mindset. While not in possession of 501(c)(3) status, Swirly Music aims to operate as much as possible as if it were.
  • Gatekeeping is kept to a minimum. There are no judgments around aesthetics, style, or market-worthiness – only a light vetting for quality control purposes. The result should be an eclectic source of repertoire that will be fun and interesting to browse.
  • Competitive revenue sharing for composers – as high as 100%, depending on a couple of options.
  • External links. Composers may include works here that are not self-published. Including music that is published elsewhere serves the goal of being a comprehensive and useful resource for those who are looking for repertoire.
  • A unique, browsing-friendly store layout. I have dispensed with the usual grid of thumbnails showing useless cover images. Instead, you will find efficient tables that reveal all of the necessary information about a larger number of pieces on one screen. For example, for choral music, titles, composers, durations, voicings, and languages. Buyers can also view the score of each piece without clicking through to its detail page.

I hope you’ll spend some time poking around the catalog here to see for yourself! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, if you have any questions or comments.

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