ScoreFollower: Increasing accessibility and exposure for New Music composers
Photo provided by ScoreFollower
While the genre of New Music flourishes in academic and fine art communities, one question we must ask ourselves is: How can we extend the accessibility and reach of this music to communities around the world, barrier-free?

When a composer begins to establish themselves in the contemporary music sphere, we tend to see an emphasis on its esoteric presence in academia, and music extends the boundaries of sound and art. Music festivals, conferences, and calls for works are all avenues for new music composers to begin establishing their network. Composium met with a music curation non-profit, ScoreFollower, to learn more about their mission, beta portfolio site, and what it means for up and coming New Music composers.
ScoreFollower is famous on YouTube and TikTok for featuring "music of the past ten years by living composers," and has additionally brought more light to what music notation can mean for anyone even through the weirdest, most random of sounds. "We believe there is no fundamental difference between the noise we consume on the internet every day and the noise we might find in a contemporary concert hall," said Founder Dan Tramte.

By musically transcribing "the beautifully gnarly sounds that were elevated into viral popularity," ScoreFollower has managed to widen the audience for music transcription. Zach Thomas, Director at ScoreFollower, explains how he is motivated to engage the average internet user with contemporary notated music. "Most people don't have access to scores, they can't read music," he said. "We're also trying to demystify and break down some of the gatekeeping walls that are around the content of contemporary music."

The non-profit continues to provide publication opportunities and break down the invisible barrier between composition and formal education through its Call for Works. It also recently launched a web score-hosting platform,, which allows composers to host their works. Thomas describes the multi-platform, which has a built-in web-based video editor, as something like hosting a WordPress site as an alternative to SoundCloud, YouTube, or Vimeo.

With over 2,500 users, its accessibility is another avenue for new artists to occupy significant spaces on a platform built for them as opposed to being swept away by algorithmic listening on large-scale platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music. Because focuses specifically on composers, its main competitors are streaming services or website builders only in the niche market of composers. "We want to be a space where composers can host their entire work portfolios to a shared audience," Thomas said.

With its annual Call for Works, "Follow My Score," ScoreFollower accepts about 700-800 submissions per call to its database and selects 80-90 of them to transform into YouTube video scores. Thomas emphasized the importance of not filtering the final selections by any institutional affiliations. As of May 2023, ScoreFollower has over 1,400 videos of original scores split across two YouTube channels.
In the long term, ScoreFollower aims to be a new kind of information resource and center for the online community of contemporary musicians. With a big update for coming soon, the platform will have analytics features and a score marketplace, where users can sell digital copies of their scores. This "genre-agnostic living archive" will remain accessible for years to come, and ideally, the new wave of music could push boundaries across sound experiments that ScoreFollower invests in.

In our interview, Tramte made a profound statement on how the concert hall has a way of framing today's sounds as something we listen to against our natural inclinations. "To many, it feels like a digression from Beethoven, but we're told there's something interesting under the hood and it's important to support our living composer. This educational or moral appeal is effective to some, but to most, it sounds like an apology," Tramte said.

They recognize the importance of each audible sound in the world and its function as music, whether it be something as random as a rubber chicken or a cat wailing for food. Whatever it is, ScoreFollower will be the one to transcribe a viral video of it. Tramte adds, "Our score videos give musical insight into what makes that sound so gnarly. Most importantly, we are unapologetic. Our ears are really good, and we're here to tell you that regardless of the framing, the sound of a rubber chicken is beautiful."
Anna Castagnaro is a Composium Ambassador pursuing a Dual Degree in Radio/TV/Film and Music Composition at Northwestern University
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