The 'Gentleman' And His Music Monopoly

Jul 24, 2013

William Byrd
William Byrd
Credit Wikimedia Commons

In 1572 British composer William Byrd was appointed a “Gentleman of the Chapel Royal” as well as organist for the Chapel.

He and Thomas Tallis were granted a royal patent for the printing of music, and controlled the use of music paper for twenty-one years.

Therefore, any composer who wanted to have his work published had to pay them for that privilege. Nice work if you can get it!