Let's say you're a budding music star. Maybe you play the piano. Like most normal, everyday people, you probably use the internet. Sure, it's great for sending messages to friends, streaming silly videos, and downloading every piece of software under the sun.
But what about getting onto the internet in a better fashion? Doctors use online patient-record systems. Researchers have the world at their fingertips. Scientists collaborate online constantly. So why should you, an excellent pianist, not get access to the same rich amount of content that everyone else gets?
A Smaller Market
Because digital piano music is quite a niche market, and only useful to a small number of people, its online presence has slowed.
It's out of date. Just as we're downloading books to our Kindles, why should sheet music be stuck in the dark ages? Shouldn't there at least be a dependable presence online for proper sheet transcriptions we know is good?
One Fundamental Problem
If you thought music copyrighting was backwards, you should see some of the people marketing digital sheet music.
Some ask you to have a functioning printer, because you will only have one measley opportunity to actually print your purchase. If something goes haywire, tough luck.
Other sites pushing classical music have wildly differing standards when talking about their files. Sometimes you'll get a PDF, other days a set of JPEGs that don't print well, and on other days you'll be stuck with a proprietary type of sheet music that's practically unreadable.
Users and Reviews Are Fundamental
The only true way to ensure the sheet music you're ponying up for is reliable is from the reviews of other musicians. If other budding stars are using the company's files, and commenting on them, you can buy with assurance.
One of the leading digital piano music portals, PianoStreet.com, has also put into place a huge online forum community around its digital sheet music sales. Actually, the site came from an earlier forum, named pianoforum.net, so the sale of sheet music was something that they transitioned to, instead of a money-making venture from the start.
Why Sheet Music Should Always Come With mp3s
Who cares about digital sheet music if you can't hear what they should be like when played? OK, your piano teacher may have the chops to play it for you, but if you're self-taught, you'll need to track down a proper recording to see how the pros do it.
A useful sheet music vendor should give you extensive mp3 recordings of everything they sell, adding loads of value to the transcribed music in the first place. Portals like PianoStreet.com have dozens of their most typical easy/intermediate piece of music online as mp3s, the very ones that any new pianist is happy to learn.
Subscription Models are The Future
Even though content producers are resistant, many have come to the realization that the market future is going to be in subscription models, where you will give a fixed rate and get unlimited access.
Pages such as PianoStreet.com have adopted this for their content offerings, giving monthly memberships that allow you unlimited access to high-quality sheet music.
The People Doing it Right
And thus it's not all hopeless. A little group of sites, led by PianoStreet.com's efforts, are advancing the way digital piano music will be sold in the future. Ignore the rest and stick to the best!