Sunday, May 1, 2016

'Bolero' free for all

Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero,” composed in 1928, entered the public domain today, meaning that the piece can be performed, recorded and used in advertisements, film and television soundtracks, and one shudders to think how else, without incurring royalty fees.

The French news agency AFP reports that “Bolero” has generated about $57 million in fees since 1960.

“[A] performance of ‘Bolero’ begins every 10 minutes in the world,” Laurent Petitgirard of the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers (SACEM), the French licensing agency, tells AFP. “As the work lasts 17 minutes, it is therefore playing at all times somewhere.”

And that was before it was free.