SOURCE: Goldberg McDuffie Authors and Experts

April 15, 2015 09:00 ET

Landmark Enhanced E-Book About Music Man Ralph Peer Will Debut April 15 Featuring 49 Full-Length Songs

Full Songs From Multiple Publishers Are Not the Norm; Rights Issues Usually Seen as Impeding Such Licensing

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - April 15, 2015) - An enhanced e-book featuring 49 full-length songs whose rights are held by a variety of recording and publishing companies will be released by Chicago Review Press on April 15, 2015. The book, RALPH PEER AND THE MAKING OF POPULAR ROOTS MUSIC by Barry Mazor, was released as a hardcover and standard e-book in November 2014.

The enhanced e-book version of the book will include 49 songs that figured prominently in the career of Peer, who was one of the most influential music company executives in the 20th century. Songs packaged with e-books have generally been restricted to less than a minute in duration due to historical format limitations, and the range of material has been generally limited, due to the novelty of the rights issues. In the case of this book, rates appropriate to the project were negotiated with the labels that hold the rights to the recordings and music publishers who hold the rights to the songs. The enhanced e-book will retail for $34.99.

"We felt it was important to have the full-length songs as part of the enhanced e-book because they give the complete sense of Ralph Peer's career, and his wide-ranging influence in the music industry," said Cynthia Sherry, publisher of Chicago Review Press. "We are delighted to be able to offer readers -- and listeners -- such an immersive experience. We also hope that this will set a precedent for the book industry when it comes to publishing books that have a rich audio component."

RALPH PEER AND THE MAKING OF POPULAR ROOTS MUSIC describes the life and musical significance of Ralph Peer, who worked with some of the biggest names in the industry in the early 20th century, including the Carter family, Jimmie Rodgers, and Louis Armstrong. The book received rave reviews from national outlets such as The New York Times Book Review ("[A] beautifully written portrait of an utterly fascinating man… [F]or any fan of original American music, Mazor's biography is must reading, a tribute to a pioneer who is now finally receiving the appreciation he deserves.") and The Wall Street Journal ("Peer's remarkable career merits an in-depth, comprehensive biography, and a masterly one has just been published… Barry Mazor has done an excellent job of telling Peer's story.")

"In a Book About Music, Recordings Are the Photographs That Illustrate the Text"

"In a book about music, recordings are the photographs that illustrate the text," said Ralph Peer II, now CEO of peermusic, the music rights firm founded by the subject of the biography. "This marriage of media will surely enhance the readers' experience. We, and our musical content partners, worked to craft licenses that fit this particular project. Licensing music to a third-party enhanced e-book is a novel experience. If the format is eventually successful this pairing of the literary and music sectors could bring enhanced income for the authors, artists and composers the publishers and labels represent." 

"I'm delighted to see this format, which both music chroniclers like myself and our readers have long wished for, made real in this book. It seems particularly appropriate given Ralph Peer's continuing practical response to the changing media of his day," said Barry Mazor, the book's author. "Hearing the music that I've discussed in the text playback on e-reading devices as it comes up certainly adds to the richness and clarity of the story being told, however familiar the reader may be with the varied early recordings involved."

An audio version of the book will be released by Lyric Audio Book, LLC later this year and a 4-CD box set encompassing Peer's life work and his legacy, is in the works with Sony Music. Peer is also the subject of an exhibit that opened earlier this year at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles titled "Ralph S. Peer: Revolutionizing Recorded Music." A seminar about Peer's legacy will take place at the museum on the evening of May 13th.

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