Schott Music is one of the oldest German music publishers. The publishing house was founded by Bernhard Schott (1748 - 1809) in Mainz in 1770. Apart from a wide range of sheet music and scores Schott has published books on music, several magazines (including Schumann's Neue Zeitschrift), and currently offers CDs and multimedia products.
The Schott music publishing business is largely the tale of two unrelated families: the Schotts from 1770 to 1874 and the Streckers from 1874 to the present. Bernhard Schott (1748-1809) founded the company in 1770 in Mainz, a historic city on the Rhine then equal to, but later overshadowed by, nearby Frankfurt. Initially the firm published the popular music of the day such as piano arrangements of operas.
The founder’s sons were great innovators in the period 1800 to 1850, renaming the firm B. Schott Söhne, acquiring many other publishers such as J. Amon (Heilbronn), Carl Zulehner (Eltville), Falter & Sohn (Munich), and Kreitner (Worms).
After the third and last generation of Schotts, who entered history as the publishers of Wagner’s Ring, came the handover in 1874 to a new dynasty, the Streckers, starting with Ludwig (1853-1943). The late 19th century saw the start of independent publishing by the branches in Paris (Schott Frères, 1889) and London (Schott and Co, 1881). Also, presumably as a result of the takeover of Kittlitz, the Kittlitz-Schott imprint was used for lighter music from 1880 onwards.
Around 1900 Schott started its bargain yellow-covered Einzel-Ausgabe series, in competition with Breitkopf und Härtel's similar blue-covered Volksausgabe (People's edition) and Edition Peters' pink or light green series. In 1910 Schott, purchased Augener, but Schott was forced to relinquish its interest at the outbreak of the First World War (1914).
In the 20th century Schott encouraged “modern” composers such as Hindemith and Schoenberg. Whereas many publishers suffered terribly in the 1930s and 40s, Schott’s seemingly obstinate decision to stay in provincial Mainz while the centre of gravity of the business was moving East to Berlin and Leipzig seemed, in hindsight, inspired and prescient: unlike many competitors’, Schott’s stock survived the war, and the firm did not find itself stranded in the communist East.
Though the firm has mainly grown organically rather than through acquisition, the post-war period saw expansion and diversification: the takeovers of Ars Viva (1953) and Ernst Eulenberg (1957), and then, reflecting the radically different music consumption habits of the electronic age, an unusual but important move into recorded music with the purchase of Wergo (1971), and into popular music publishing with the creation of Musifactory (1975). The current range of activities is explained on the firm’s web site.