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Surface noise is our competitive edge - Slack re. the juke versus iTunes Radio

Author Topic: Story of Paramount Records - Thirdman / Revenant Records  (Read 5756 times)

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Offline Gilgamesh

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Re: Story of Paramount Records - Thirdman / Revenant Records
« Reply #60 on: May 07, 2014, 06:07:56 AM »
In a review of the Paramount box, this page cites a new BBC documentary called "American Epic," about the music business in  the 20s and 30s.

http://musicofourheart.me/2013/11/02/american-epic-first-installmentthe-rise-and-fall-of-paramount-records-volume-one-1917-1927-nov-19/

This quote jumped out:

?It?s the story of the American recording industry from 1926 to 1936, this incredible occurrence. In 1926 the record industry fell off 80 per cent in one year because of the proliferation of radio in the big cities. The middle-class people and the wealthy people who were able to buy radios no longer wanted to buy records, because they could get music for free ? why buy a record? So the recording companies, having equipment and nothing to do, decided to go down south, where people didn?t have electricity, and therefore didn?t have radios. So they started recording people down south ? they started recording the poorest people in the country and broadcasting their voices all around the world.? ? T-Bone Burnett

This sounds like romantic nonsense to me. Am I wrong? I wasn't aware of the record business entering a huge depression in 1926 because of radio. And southern field recordings started in 1923, I think.

It seems like 1926-29 were actually a boom period for the record business in all genres.

Offline Gumbo

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Re: Story of Paramount Records - Thirdman / Revenant Records
« Reply #61 on: May 07, 2014, 07:42:26 AM »
There was a period where record companies wouldn't allow 78s to be played on the radio and most radio music was live. When did that start and finish? Does it coincide?

Offline Stuart

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Re: Story of Paramount Records - Thirdman / Revenant Records
« Reply #62 on: May 07, 2014, 08:54:12 AM »
Gilamesh: It's one of those things where we'd have to look at all the facts--sales figures by region, demographics, etc.--both of records and radio. Commercial broadcast radio really didn't get started until about 1920 or so and the radios were not cheap--and perhaps were a "novelty" at first, so I guess one could make the case that time and disposable income shifted to the radio from records. But did this actually happen and to what degree? And what were the actual details--what really happened and why? I don't know.

Gumbo: I'm hazy on this, but I believe that you may be thinking about the musicians union strike that occurred  during the WWII years. Here's the Wiki entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942%E2%80%9344_musicians%27_strike


Offline Gumbo

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Re: Story of Paramount Records - Thirdman / Revenant Records
« Reply #63 on: May 07, 2014, 10:04:08 AM »
I was thinking more of this, Stuart but it seems that there was no big change in 1926.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_jockey
Quote
In 1935, American radio commentator Walter Winchell coined the term "disc jockey" (the combination of disc, referring to the disc records, and jockey, which is an operator of a machine) as a description of radio announcer Martin Block, the first announcer to become a star. While his audience was awaiting developments in the Lindbergh kidnapping, Block played records and created the illusion that he was broadcasting from a ballroom, with the nation?s top dance bands performing live. The show, which he called Make Believe Ballroom, was an instant hit. The term "disc jockey" appeared in print in Variety in 1941.[10]

Prior to this, most music heard on radio was live; most radio stations had an orchestra or band on the payroll.[11][12] The Federal Communications Commission also clearly favored live music, providing accelerated license approval to stations promising not to use any recordings for their first three years on the air.[10] Many noted recording artists tried to keep their recorded works off the air by having their records labeled as not being legal for airplay.[13] It took a Federal court ruling in 1940 to establish that a recording artist had no legal right to control the use of a record after it was sold.[10]

Offline Stuart

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Re: Story of Paramount Records - Thirdman / Revenant Records
« Reply #64 on: May 07, 2014, 12:59:42 PM »
Thanks, Gumbo. Growing up in the 50's and 60's in NJ, i used to hear Make Believe Ballroom on the radio at home and at my  friend's houses as it was popular with our parents.

There are probably good histories written about these subjects--both the one raised by you and Gilamesh's question. The Communications dept. of a college or university might be the place to look for leads--courses, syllabuses, etc. After all, it is media related.

A while back there was a Ken Burn's PBS show, "Empire of the Air," that was based on Tom Lewis's book, but I don't think it focused in at any point on the info we're after. The next time I'm down at the UW, I'll see what  I can find out. They have a page re: Communications, so someone might be able to help. FYI:

http://guides.lib.washington.edu/commstudies

I'll check with the Music dept as well, if time permits.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Story of Paramount Records - Thirdman / Revenant Records
« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2014, 12:31:02 AM »
Gilamesh: Did a quick Google of "record sales by year 1920's" and came up with the following which I skimmed:

(edited to put Stan Leibowitz's article first)

Here's an article, "THE ELUSIVE SYMBIOSIS: THE IMPACT OF RADIO ON THE
RECORD INDUSTRY," in PDF by Stan Leibowitz:

http://tinyurl.com/p68es89

And the others:

http://www.pbs.org/jazz/exchange/exchange_race_records.htm

http://www.fishpiss.com/archives/128/3

http://www.recording-history.org/HTML/musicbiz3.php

http://tinyurl.com/prbsach

https://78records.wordpress.com/tag/race-record-sales-in-the-1920s/

http://www.mainspringpress.com/victorsales.html

http://www.mainspringpress.com/book_rec20.html

Just the first Google page--my take away is that, Yeah, there was definitely an effect, but not the 80% drop that supposedly was stated by Burnett.  His other statements don't seem to accord with the facts, either. IMHO, impressionistic, not analytic. Looks like it originated at Uncut, quoting from something he said at Cannes.

http://www.uncut.co.uk/jack-white-and-t-bone-burnett-working-on-music-documentary-news

One or two of the pieces were shaky, but the proverbial grain of salt is always in order when consulting info found on the Interwebs. A few of the links were included as they may be of interest, although not central to Gilamesh's question.

« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 10:19:41 AM by Stuart »

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