Exploring The Intersection Of Music, Business And Society Through History
Tune in to the rhythm of modern popular music history with Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay.
Learn about how music has constantly been changing, adapting and developing along with society, technology, trends and laws.
Understand what economic interests have had an effect on the production and consumption of music.
Step back into classic jukebox tunes, jazz clubs of Chicago and New York or memorable moments at Woodstock.
Discover how copyright law impacted the world of music and explore the effects that alcohol consumption had on sales as well as what it cost to hire a security service from Hells Angels in 1969.
Get your feet tapping with musical knowledge when you dive into the colorful past of popular music with Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay!
The Birth Of Music Publishing: From Sheet Music To Records And Copyright Laws
The modern music business was born with the dawn of copyright law and the invention of the record player.
Before then, music had been seen as a communal property, but in 1710 that all changed when British courts of law first recognized authors as having rights over what they wrote.
This allowed them to earn royalties from each sale which gave them an incentive to write more.
This then caused the formation of the first dedicated music publishing house, Chappell & Co., established by Samuel Chappell (owner of a piano shop) and pianist Johann Baptist Cramer.
They began collecting, publishing and selling sheet music to give people access to songs they would never have heard otherwise.
But all this changed again when Thomas Edison created his first commercial record player in 1877 – suddenly it was no longer just about sheet music!
Music publishers turned their attention away from paper documents and instead began producing records which were far more profitable thanks to their extremely high rate of re-play.
How Irving Berlin Revolutionized Pop Music With ‘Alexander’S Ragtime Band’
When Irving Berlin came on the scene in 1888, he revolutionized popular music by changing its beat.
Born Israel Isidore Berlin, his family left Russia for America when he was three-years old and, after his father died at age eight, he lived on the streets with only a dream to become a singer.
His efforts paid off when his song “Dorandondo” launched him into stardom and allowed him to change his name to Irving Berlin.
But it was “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” of 1911 that truly changed American pop music forever.
When blending different elements of different musical styles like jazz and ragtime, he made sure it had appeal to both black and white audiences.
His greatest contribution? He inverted the traditional four-beat structure of songs so that they emphasized the second and fourth beats (bap, boom, bap, boom), instead of emphasizing the first and third (boom, bap, boom, bap).
This beat would come to define future American pop music!
The Outsiders Who Helped Make Jazz A Global Phenomenon
In the early 20th century, the music business was often seen as a less reputable line of work for most Anglo-Saxons.
With limited options opened to them in terms of prosperity, Jewish and black artists flourished in the music industry.
From crooning jazz music in country nightclubs, to signing recording and publishing deals all through 1910 and 1930, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong were just two of many musicians who found success.
This helped raise the profile of jazz music from its origins in New Orleans to other parts of the US.
At that same time, Jewish people found two roles in which they could be prosperous: publishing companies’ owners and songwriters such as George Gershwin.
They were some of the firsts to publish and record songs by black artists who were moving North from the South looking for financial opportunities — a trend that would continue after World War I.
Jewish songwriters learnt from the ways black artists performed their songs incorporating elements of blues and jazz, which had its roots in slave workers’ work songs.
This mix gave way to one of the biggest hits ever: “Memphis Blues” — a song which has been recorded by a countless number of famous musicians throughout history.
The Radio: An Innovation That Changed The Music Industry For The Better
When the radio was first released commercially in the early 1920s, it revolutionized the music industry.
No longer were record players needed, and people had access to a variety of different styles of music all day long.
Initially, this presented a challenge to the music industry as record sales dropped dramatically.
However, soon enough the executive minds in the music industry realized that radio could be used as an incredibly powerful marketing tool.
Rather than seeing it as competition, they started working with disc jockeys or DJs to steer listeners towards certain albums or songs by using samples of exciting new music.
As a result, public interest started peek up and records began selling once again.
It’s clear that while initially being scared of the advent of radio, with time and understanding of its potential, the music industry soon saw that its usage could be an incredibly effective marketing tool.
The Music Industry Thrives During And After Prohibition Thanks To The Jukebox And Hollywood Musicals
Following Prohibition, the music industry flourished due to an increase in bars, nightclubs and Hollywood.
With the production, distribution and consumption of alcohol once again legalised, sales of records and musical instruments skyrocketed.
The invention of the jukebox also gave a major boost to music sales.
Jukeboxes supplied a convenient, cost-effective way for people to listen to new tunes and quickly became a staple of drinking establishments around the country – by 1934 there were over 250,000 jukeboxes in operation in the US alone.
At the same time, Hollywood was churning out more and more hit musicals such as 42nd Street (1933) and Top Hat (1935), contributing further to the surge in interest in all things music related.
With renowned songwriter Irving Berlin steering clear of selling his songs to movie studios, instead maintaining control over their rights himself – it meant he was able to generate additional revenue each time one of his compositions appeared on screen.
The repeal of Prohibition saw many benefits for US citizens.
But one that is often overlooked is its positive impact on the nation’s music industry – bolstered by new revenue sources from bars, clubs and Hollywood following this change in law.
How The Beatles’ “British Invasion” Revolutionized The Music Industry
Following World War II, music underwent a major transition to become more international in composition and focus.
In the United States, this shift was dubbed the “British invasion”, as British bands such as The Beatles began to climb the charts.
Their hits such as “Please Please Me” and “She Loves You” became incredibly popular among young audiences.
The success of The Beatles also ushered in an entirely new style of songs that blended elements of rock and roll with its blues roots–all thanks to black musicians.
Music labels then began to package and sell full-length albums rather than just singles; this period marked a turning point for the industry which was now known as the record industry.
Talent was booked in studios across the country, with groups of 3-5 artists forming recognizable bands with personalities that connected them even further to fans.
This newfound popularity soon brought other British bands into the limelight, such as The Who, Cream, Traffic and Led Zeppelin.
As a result, popular music evolved into something much whiter than its prewar form.
The Contrasting Legacy Of Woodstock And Altamont: Lessons From Two Iconic Concerts
The live music scene in 1969 was changed by two events – Woodstock and The Rolling Stones’ Altamont Free Concert.
Despite their vastly different scenes, both festivals had something important to teach us about the future of the industry.
Woodstock showed us that there is a massive demand for this kind of live music, but that it must be managed properly from planning to execution with ticket sales, security and other resources.
Altamont demonstrated that it is not enough to just be well planned – the environment should also be managed carefully.
A lack of proper security at the festival led to tragic consequences with one fan being killed and three others sustaining injuries or dying because of drugs or alcohol abuse.
Overall, these two concerts in 1969 showcased what can go right and wrong when managing large-scale festivals – lessons which continue to shape the industry today.
How Different Musical Genres And Drugs Have Shaped The Music Industry
Over the years, many musical subcultures have become increasingly popular among music lovers around the world.
As these styles of music rose in popularity, they were often closely associated with certain drugs.
For example, marijuana was a common staple of the rock and roll movement in the 60s, while jazz musicians of the 70s often used heroin to get a bigger and much more dangerous kick.
The late 80s saw a major rise in rave culture bolstered by ecstasy and MDMA – people who partied to electronic dance music felt connected to each other and their surroundings through hypnotic rhythms that encouraged euphoric sensations.
Hip hop culture also surged in mainstream popularity with its catchy beats, powerful rhymes and the overall message that spoke to modern black culture when Niggaz wit Attitudes released their infamous protest song “Fuck tha Police” back in 1988.
Ever since then, hip hop has been embraced as a nonviolent way for disenfranchised people around the world to express themselves musically.
The Digital Revolution Gave Music A New Lease On Life: How Apple And Napster Transformed The Industry
The advent of music sharing over the internet shifted the power dynamic in the music industry from artists to customers, and the industry was forced to come up with a new business model.
In 1999, Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker founded Napster, an online platform for sharing and discovering music that caused quite a stir.
This new way of downloading and streaming music meant that customers could avoid expensive CD prices by just logging on to Napster.
But what made this possible in the first place? Engineers needed to find a way to compress songs into small, manageable files so they could be uploaded and shared over the internet.
And thus, the idea of mp3s was born.
With over 50 million users in 2001, the combined archives of every user opened up an immense library of music – all accessible with just an internet connection.
When Apple then released their iPod device in 2001 with access to iTunes store via its app, it sparked another major shift in how people consume digital music files.
The company’s idea of offering songs for just $0.99 unlocked unexplored potentials within the industry as there were virtually no packaging or distribution costs associated with these downloads.
The combination of mp3 compression technologies together with Napster and Apple’s iPods created a renaissance for digital music consumption – one far cheaper than buying CDs at stores – resulting in massive drops in sales during this era but also steady growth within digital purchases over time.
The end result was a revolution that required the entire industry to develop innovative business models or perish under increasing customer demands for convenience and affordability.
The final takeaway from Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay is that the music industry has been shaped and reshaped by technological innovations and other changes in society.
Despite the many challenges it has faced, the music industry has found ways to endure and adapt over time.
This book examines how these changes have occurred and how they have enabled the music industry to remain successful through its various iterations.
By understanding this history, it becomes clear that continuing innovation and adaptation are essential for the future of the music industry.