A dozen leading German independent publishers want to launch a new platform for downloading sheet music between now and March 2010 in Germany.

This will allow users to download sheet music and will also be available to music retailers, who will be able to offer this service to their customers in their stores.

The online move was announced by Dr. Matthias Hutzel, head of marketing and sales at Schott Music in Mainz, at the commencement of the Frankfurt Book Fair today (Oct. 13). He also stated that once the system had been launched successfully in Germany, it would be implemented on a European-wide basis.

The music publishers who have so far agreed to participate in the platform include Breitkopf & Härtel (Wiesbaden), Doblinger (Vienna-Munich), C. F. Peters (Frankfurt), Schott Music (Mainz) and Universal Edition (Vienna).

According to Hutzel, "the purpose of the common initiative is to respond to contemporary customer preferences and to offer an attractive platform for downloading music manuscripts legally." In addition to sheet music, there are also plans to incorporate audio and video files.

The music partners have procured the services of Media Transfer AG in Darmstadt for the technical implementation of the system.

According to a report published by the German Federal Association of Music Publishers (DMV) in Bonn, German publishers generate sales of over €90 million ($133.3 million) from the sale of sheet music in Germany.