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A Brief History of the Music Industry Essay

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Updated: Jun 9th, 2021

The present state of music production has been shaped by a variety of social, technological, and economic processes. The modern recording industry’s success is the combined outcome of selling recordings and the rise of radio (Crothers, 2013). However, the recording industry originated in 1877 with the invention of Edison’s “talking machine” (Crothers, 2013, p. 106). The first record players started to be sold in the 1890s, and they gave people the opportunity to record their speech or music. With the invention of recording disks, which replaced cylinders, the quality increased considerably, resulting in vast numbers of recordings sold.

The radio played a significant role in the industry’s development. Performances such as soap operas, comedies, and dramas were highly popular. The programming for radio networks came from production companies such as the American Broadcasting Company, National Broadcasting Company, and Columbia Broadcasting System (Crothers, 2013). The network system allowed independent stations to avoid creating their content since they could broadcast shows made by the network. A modernized system of financing operations enabled radio executives to increase their profits.

In the 1920s-1950s, the number of radio listeners grew substantially, with the major reason for such success being live programming. However, with the advent of television, the radio started losing its audiences. To avoid declining profitability, radio stations promoted the emergence of niche markets that TV could not serve (Crothers, 2013). Rock music was the most prominent example of these new markets. The recording industry flourished, increasing its sales from $277 million to $460 million in the period between 1955 and 1957. Crothers (2013) remarks that not only the USA but also other nations have contributed to the evolution of the music industry. However, America’s role is dominant since it developed the first recording systems and launched the most popular music trends.

Reference

Crothers, L. (2013). “A brief history of the music industry.” In L. Crothers (Ed.), Globalization and American popular culture (3rd ed.) (pp. 106-114). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "A Brief History of the Music Industry." June 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-brief-history-of-the-music-industry/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'A Brief History of the Music Industry'. 9 June.

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