-----Original Message-----
From Matthew Barton: "...I don't think that the magnetic recording and
patent situation explains the emergence of independent recording companies
in the 1940s entirely..."

I'm trying to remember the name of the person Tom Dowd told me created the
cutter that allowed indi labels to operate without leased equipment and
royalties. He was famous later for an early stereo disk system that used two
parallel grooves and a cartridge with two styli. Tape recording was far more
practical economically than disks. The fact that it made editing easy also
permitted the use of less skilled and lots less expensive musicians.

The other part of the equation was that the major labels had dropped most
artists who weren't movie stars. This led to people leaving the majors and
setting up independent distribution companies and labels to handle niches
that they knew from experience could be profitable. 

The rise of independent distribution enabled both independent labels and
genre-specific dedicated record stores because the traditional music and
department store outlets tended to only handle major label records along
with the same company's record players.

Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN
Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined!