I was unaware of this too, but I don't think that the magnetic recording and patent situation explains the emergence of independent recording companies in the 1940s entirely. Many important indies, such as King in Cincinatti, Bullet in Nashville and Modern in Los Angeles started before tape recorders were available in the United States. Some, like King, were started before the end of the War. Sam Phillips recorded to acetate when he started Sun Studios in Memphis after the War and stayed it with it for awhile--I believe that Rocket 88, recorded early in 1950, is an acetate. Starting in New Orleans at about the same time, Cosimo Matassa cut acetates at his J&M studios, and his 1949 and 1950 recordings of Fats Domino for Imperial were done to acetate.
By the early 50s, to be sure, Indies were popping up everywhere, and I have no doubt that this proliferation was greatly aided by the technological and financial advantages offered by tape recording.
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>>> "Steven C. Barr(x)" <[log in to unmask]> 7/5/2007 8:47:28 PM >>>
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Olhsson" <[log in to unmask]>
> -----Original Message-----
> >From Steven C. Barr: "...Anyway, it was pretty well after WWII that the
> "record industry" evolved
> from a handful of big "record companies" that maintained their own recording
> studios, mastering facilities and pressing operations..."
> Electrical recordings were covered by numerous patents held by RCA and
> A.T.&T. prior to the late '40s that required one to lease the recording
> equipment and pay royalties on every copy sold. Indi labels only appeared
> after the emergence of magnetic recording and the end of the need to pay
> royalties to the patent holders. The majors responded by making their
> facilities available to indi labels.
Thanxes muchly! I wasn't aware of this fact, and had never seen it mentioned
in any books or articles concerning the history of sound recording!
BTW, didn't Columbia(UK) develop a process which somehow side-stepped the
payment of royalties to WE and RCA...and indicate that by changing the prefix
on their matrix numbers from "W" to "C?"
Steven C. Barr