Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

News, notes and ideas on music marketing, self-promotion, artist empowerment and more

April 11, 2007

The Truth About Music Industry Upheaval

Last night I read about a major battle within the music industry. New technology and changing trends were clashing with the established system. No, it wasn't about the state of music in 2007. Nor was it about 1999 or even 1984.

It was 1942.

That was the year the American Federation of Musicians (the musicians union) ordered its members to stop recording until the record companies agreed to pay them each time their music was played in jukeboxes or on the radio. It took more than two years for the biggest labels (Victor and Columbia) to fully settle so musicians could return to the studios.

Swing and big band music was on the way out and, largely because of the ban, the heyday of vocal music was about to be ushered in.

According to this page on the web site:

"Just as the record ban began, saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie had just found their way into uncharted jazz territory. They were wowing small groups of listeners with their innovative new sound, but because of the record ban, only their collaborators and a few dedicated fans would hear the music they had created, which came to be known as bebop."

Why this history lesson?

We tend to think that whatever changes are taking place in the present moment are the biggest and most impactful ever. While it's true that change occurs at ever increasing rates, and the music shift going on today is truly dramatic, it's also important to realize that it's nothing new.

It happened with the invention of the gramophone. It happened with swing and big band. It happened with Sinatra, Elvis and The Beatles. It happened with the introduction of the cassette and the CD. It happened again with the widespread use of MP3 files and iPods. It's happening right now.

And whenever these dramatic shifts happen, you'll find innovative musicians (like Parker and Gillespie) who continue to forge new paths regardless of what's happening with "the industry" at the time.

What new path are you forging?


posted by Bob Baker @ 9:03 AM   3 comments


At Apr 19, 2007 9:57:00 PM, Blogger Marc Gunn said...

That's an inspiring reminder, Bob!

At Aug 2, 2007 7:14:00 PM, Blogger DaNelle said...

I agree with the comment above!

Danelle Harvey

At Apr 13, 2009 11:44:00 AM, Anonymous Quinton Sheer said...

Who would U say are the innovative musicians today? Those we should look to?


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