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ARSCLIST  January 2012

ARSCLIST January 2012

Subject:

Re: US record business in the 1950s

From:

Roderic G Stephens <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 21 Jan 2012 18:00:58 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (428 lines)

You're really milking it, Steven.

--- On Sat, 1/21/12, Steven Smolian <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Steven Smolian <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Saturday, January 21, 2012, 5:46 PM

Dies this account for mooed music?

Stee 

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dick Spottswood
Sent: Saturday, January 21, 2012 7:25 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s

It's well known that cattle will be calmer, give more milk and taste better
when exposed to Gregorian chant, especially when they hear tunes they
already know. 

Dick





Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s

Steven Smolian
to:
ARSCLIST
01/19/2012 08:06 PM


Sent by:
Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Please respond to Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List





Perhaps it is time for the educational system- formal and informal- to 
guide
folks to the art of listening through learning the skills of listening. 

The question is- where is the return on the financial investment required 
to
make the educational one? 

The hooey around the Mozart effect and its supposed benefits toward better
math and scuence scores later was a diversionary shortcut bypassing 
two-part
singing, for example, the second level of the old Music Appreciation 8 
year
classes in elementary school in the 1920s. 

There are lots of other factors as well. 

I could go on.

Steve Smolian

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2012 7:22 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s

Geeze Dennis, I wouldn't go as far as Jeremiad, but yes I do speak a grim
vision.

You've touched on a key problem, music has lost value in the culture, it 
is
background noise or sonic-wallpaper, because there are other "quick hits"
that stimulate people more. One could argue this began when television
became a mass medium, that now a visual component was added to the in-home
consumption of non-static entertainment. By this line of reasoning, a
healthy recording/music-promoting business was necessary to "prop up" 
music
as a vital form of entertainment. So then the inevitable decline began 
with
MTV, when this business surrendered to the demand that pictures "had to"
accompany the music. The pictures became ever more dominant, and so the
creativity went to visual media -- definitely so since the rise of the
internet. This sucked away the creativity and competition that kept
music-creation sharp, and so that whole type of entertainment became less
interesting, and thus more devalued by the culture.

Hmm, by that line of reasoning the glass really is half-empty because I
don't see how you reverse that trend.  This reminds me of an interesting
discussion I had years ago about a soda brand in decline. The long-time
marketing executive I was talking with told me that when an old brand
declines beyond a certain point, it's nearly impossible to revive its 
fates
because consumers have written it off as past and irrelevant (he was 100%
correct and that brand declined to irrelevancy, having once been among the
top-10 soda brands in the U.S.). Perhaps that's what is happening to
music-only entertainment in the overall cultural aesthetic.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dennis Rooney" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2012 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s


> My, My, What a Jeremiad!
>
> It seems incontrovertible that the Music Industry and in particular
> its relation to the Record Industry has run its course. Those of us
> who had some relationship to those enterprises find all or part of
> what has happened upsetting, perplexing or both. Increasing age and
> the richness of one's experiential base seem inevitably to lead to a
> decline in the ability to be stimulated by something new. I, however,
> prefer to recall O'Shaughnessy's lines: "For each age is a dream that
> is dying, Or one that is coming to birth." It seems to me that music
> will survive but only if the joy of making music iis widely
> encouraged, not only to foster talented performance but also to
> nourish the audiences of tthe future. Isaac Stern said that music is
> essential to a civilized existence. As long as we believe that it is,
> how it will be consumed in the future need not concern us too much.
>
> DDR
>
> On 1/19/12, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> There are very strong signs that Western popular music has run its
course,
>> that all to be said has
>> been said and everything "new" is just derivative of something done
earlier.
>>
>> Interesting article on that topic recently in NYT:
>>
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/arts/music/rock-in-2011-hot-chelle-rae-fos

ter-the-people-chevelle.html
>> also:
>>
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/arts/music/metal-christian-rock-dubstep-wh

ats-the-next-grunge.html
>>
>> There is nothing on the horizon that is very interesting. Yes, some 
(few)
>> albums in recent years by
>> some (few) bands have been exciting and gain some traction because they
are
>> punchy and perhaps
>> fresh-sounding and/or well-executed and well-produced compared to
everything
>> else, but they are not
>> original in the sense of something very new and different.
>>
>> Jazz got into this dead end decades ago, and blues was there by the 
third
>> generation. Also, both
>> genres got picked up as IMPORTANT by academics and would-be taste
dictators,
>> so the life got
>> analized out of them. They were folk musics, but the folks' tastes
changed,
>> so they died on the
>> vines.
>>
>> One could also argue that classical got less interesting with each
>> generation of conductors farther
>> removed from the composers of works that anyone wanted to pay to hear.
Yes,
>> there is composing going
>> on, but nothing is gaining much traction (yes, there are a few
exceptions),
>> so I stand by that
>> statement. One of the reasons people like "golden era" recordings of
>> Stravinsky, Copland and even
>> late-1800's French composers is that there were men conducting the 
works
who
>> knew the composers, had
>> discussed how to execute the works and understood the times and 
contexts
of
>> the works. It's a
>> stretch to think that a 40-something conductor of musician today is 
going
to
>> understand the dynamics
>> of early 1900's Paris or Shostakovich's Soviet Union, or even 1920's
>> America.
>>
>> I would suggest that all of this ties into the general ripeness of
Western
>> culture and intellectual
>> discussion/exploration these days. There's been a mass taking the eye 
off
>> the ball, and things may
>> either be in permanent decline (glass half empty) or poised for an
exciting
>> refreshment (glass half
>> full).
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Roger Kulp" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2012 5:45 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
>>
>>
>> The music industry has been dying a slow death for at least the last
twenty
>> five years.Starting
>> around the time Sony acquired Columbia..Now it 's pretty much dead.
>>
>> I don't see any vibrant independent companies trying to breathe new 
life
>> into the old beast
>> either.That pretty much died with the 1990s.Most things,like Record 
Store
>> Day,are no more than
>> worship of the past.
>>
>> Roger
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________
>>  From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Friday, January 13, 2012 8:29 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
>>
>> Hi Pekka:
>>
>> What is your research through the Billboards uncovering? Have you found
any
>> sort of concrete data on
>> relative sales? I would assume that RCA and Columbia were far bigger 
than
>> everyone else, but what's
>> interesting is how big or small everyone else was. I forgot to mention 
in
my
>> previous e-mail that
>> the other broadcast network, ABC, had a foot in the record business 
with
>> ABC-Paramount. And movie
>> studio MGM had a record business, but it got bigger in the 60s. As
someone
>> else mentioned, movie
>> studio Warner Brothers got into the record business in the late 50's. 
So
>> there were some big players
>> dipping their hands into the business.
>>
>> Wow, it's depressing to think about how vibrant and competitive the
business
>> was 50+ years ago.
>> Today it's two megaglomerates, two struggling lesser-glomerates (one
about
>> to be acquired), a small
>> collection of mid-sized companies and a bottom tier of tiny, tiny
players.
>> My educated guess is that
>> half of the US's commercially-recorded history is owned by one
megaglomerate
>> (Sony) and a good bit
>> more than another quarter is owned by the other megaglomerate
(Universal),
>> leaving maybe 15-20%
>> spread among everyone else.
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Pekka Gronow" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Friday, January 13, 2012 4:47 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
>>
>>
>>> Lots of useful comment, thanks - especially access to Billboard on the
>>> internet (overwhelming). I still prefer browsing paper volumes, but I
>>> would
>>> have to cross the Atlantic to do that. Thanks!
>>>
>>> One detail: what was London records in the USA in the 1950s (see 
below)
?
>>> I
>>> am not clear on this. A US subsidiary of UK Decca?? The label also
existed
>>> in the UK. How extensive was their business?
>>> Did they produce original US material?
>>>
>>> Pekka
>>>
>>>
>>> 2012/1/7 Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>>
>>>> She was talking about the overall LP market in the 50's. Mercury
>>>> definitely sold more records in the US than London in that period, as
did
>>>> Capitol. Classical was a part of the business, a bigger part than 
today
>>>> but
>>>> still a part. A couple of pop hits could eclipse the whole classical
>>>> catalog sales in any given year, remember this was the time of
jukeboxes
>>>> and payola-play radio. Classical didn't participate too much in that,
but
>>>> that business model could generate tremendous sales behind a genuine
hit
>>>> that caught on due to the paid-for exposure.
>>>>
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Roger Kulp"
<[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Friday, January 06, 2012 11:02 PM
>>>>
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I definitely see more London,Mercury,and Capitol,in about that
order,when
>>>> it comes to 50s classical Lps after RCA and Columbia.
>>>>
>>>> Roger
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> ______________________________**__
>>>> From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>> Sent: Friday, January 6, 2012 4:23 AM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
>>>>
>>>> After RCA and Columbia and their subsidiaries, the shares would fall 
to
>>>> smaller numbers. USA Decca would probably be fourth in there, but I'm
not
>>>> positive about that. But my impression (not based on actual sales
>>>> figures)
>>>> is that there was a second tier of "major independents" by the late
50's.
>>>> This included Capitol (which soon sold to EMI), Mercury (which soon
sold
>>>> to
>>>> Philips), and there may have been enough early-rock hits to Chess and
Sun
>>>> into this tier if we're talking sales dollars or actual sales volume.
>>>>
>>>> I'm sure you know this, but many if not most Billboard issues are
>>>> searchable and readable via Google Books. You could also contact 
NARAS,
>>>> since this cannot be considered "sensitive industry data" by the
wildest
>>>> imagination, given that we're talking 50+ years ago.
>>>>
>>>> You could also check European business press from the time of EMI
>>>> acquiring Capitol and Philips acquiring Mercury and see if any 
details
>>>> about the US market were provided either in corporate filings or in
news
>>>> articles of the time.
>>>>
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Pekka Gronow" 
<[log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Friday, January 06, 2012 5:26 AM
>>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] US record business in the 1950s
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I have been looking for data on record company market shares in the 
USA
>>>> in
>>>>> the 1950s, but I am still puzzled. There is RIAA data on total 
sales,
>>>>> and
>>>>> a
>>>>> lot of (mostly anecdotal) detail on specific companies. Sanjek's 
books
>>>>> on
>>>>> the music business are helpful, but do not follow the development
>>>>> systematically. If I had access to all issues of Billboard from this
>>>>> period, that might be the solution, but I do not have them
>>>>>
>>>>> It seems likely that the three biggest companies in the USA during
this
>>>>> decade were CBS, RCA Victor and Decca. There were hundreds of other
>>>>> companies, of various sizes. But which were the ten, or twenty,
biggest
>>>>> ones? I am not speaking of shares of hits in the charts (this has 
been
>>>>> studied), but market shares - real or at least estimated?
>>>>>
>>>>> All suggestions would be useful.
>>>>>
>>>>> Pekka Gronow
>>>>> Helsinki
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>
>>
>
>
> -- 
> Dennis D. Rooney
> 303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
> New York, NY 10023
> 212.874.9626
> 

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