I’m a writer. To put me deeper into my story as I write it, I listen to music that deals with the theme of what I am currently writing. Such as, I listen to rain sounds while I write scenes about rain, I listen to Johann Strauss’s Voices of Spring as I write my ballroom scene in 1842 Victorian England.
But I am also a reader.
As a reader, I would love to read a book that included a music/sound link right at the scene that deals with that music/sound, so I can listen to rain while I read about it raining.
I pitched this idea to a couple readers and writers, and they either had similar thoughts or thought the idea to be really neat.
Then my publisher said this to me when I pitched the idea to them:
The problem with adding music to books (not impossible) is most everything is copyrighted. We can't (aren't supposed to) even use one line from any popular song from the last 75 years. I knew a writer who wanted to use the line, "It's a lovely day for a white wedding." She changed 'nice' to 'white' but it was still too close to the song lyric.
She went to Billy Idol for permission to use the two words 'white wedding' and he said 'sure, for $10,000.'
Music and lyrics don't fall under the same fair use laws as book text. And it's different still for trademarks. Another issue is file size. You'd want to embed sounds into the pages where they'd play automatically, changing when the scene changes. That takes a whole other type of formatting, but also the file would be massive. Places like Amazon charge a WhisperNet fee which is an added cost by Amazon and is based on the book's file size. The larger the file size, the higher the fee.
The other problem with added sounds and music is that for many readers (and writers) music (especially with lyrics) is too distracting. While you can get away with adding, let's say, some Tchaikovsky to a book, you could only use a version that was recorded over 75 years ago, because anyone else performing his music after that time means their version is copyrighted. Which means while Tchaikovsky's music is out of copyright, Andre Rieu's performance of it is not.
SAD! Though I expected this. However, this is still only 2016, we’ve come a long way from 1842 England where you had to go to a ballroom to listen to music. I do believe that, with enough hype, we can institute this idea into the books we read (and write), in order to attain yet a deeper level of involvement into the story. This could also be beneficial for braille readers.
Comment with your thoughts. Share this post to spread the word and see what others feel about it. It might just generate the hype we need.