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CHAPTER 2:
What the Popular Music Industry
REALLY Is, and Where It Came From
  
2.1 Origin of Popular Music as an Industry

 

All music is folk music; leastwise I ain’t never heard a horse sing.

—LOUIS ARMSTRONG    

PAGE INDEX
 

2.0.1 A Tiny Bit of Helpful Musical History

2.1.1 Where the Popular Music Industry Came From

2.1.2 Paying Songwriters: A Mercifully Brief History of Legislated Copyright, Mechanical Right, Performing Right

 

~ • ~ • ~ • ~

2.0.1

A TINY BIT OF HELPFUL MUSICAL HISTORY

 

This book focuses on specific practical techniques you can use to create and perform emotionally evocative, memorable music and lyrics. As for popular music history and the history of particular genres, any good library or bookstore has hundreds of titles.


     That said, this one chapter (out of 12), and one appendix, provide a bit of historical background on popular music of the West. Western popular music—especially African American popular music—is found practically everywhere in the world. Paradoxically, humans tend to resist attempts at so-called “cultural imperialism”—yet plunder each other’s cultures when they find something they like. Universal people, universal music.


     This chapter briefly surveys more than a dozen major popular music genres that emerged throughout the 20th Century, mainly in America.



2.1.1

WHERE THE POPULAR MUSIC INDUSTRY CAME FROM

 

People have created music and lyrics for tens of thousands of years, passing songs on—usually altered—from generation to generation. The oral tradition. Folk music.


     In the late 1700s, the Industrial Revolution took hold in England and Western Europe. Millions migrated to the cities for factory work. They brought their folk songs with them. At first, the only places factory workers could go for entertainment were ale houses. They’d get smashed and sing their songs and try to forget their miserable factory lives.


     Soon they noticed that other musical entertainment alternatives existed around them in the big city. For instance, the merchant classes attended operas. Staged in actual opera houses. So urban workers started demanding more and better entertainment for themselves. By the middle of the 19th Century, various types of music halls were springing up to meet the demand.


     Singers needed material. So, composers and lyricists, some with considerable formal training, supplied the music hall and cabaret performers with new songs resembling classical art songs but informed by familiar folk material. A professional songwriting industry was taking shape. The new musical material did not fit the description of either art song or folk song. Songs composed by professional songwriters for music hall entertainment became more popular than the traditional folk songs.


     As well, a new middle class was emerging, better educated and able to purchase and learn to play instruments such as the upright piano. Literate urban dwellers demanded sheet music of popular songs and folk songs. This created a commercial market for mass-disseminated print music.


     New music halls for the masses ... professional songwriters turning out songs for stage entertainers ... sheet music for sale to the masses so they could perform the songs at home ... it all added up to a new industry, the popular music industry.



2.1.2

PAYING SONGWRITERS: A MERCIFULLY BRIEF HISTORY OF LEGISLATED COPYRIGHT, MECHANICAL RIGHT, PERFORMING RIGHT


Some songwriters of the 18th and 19th centuries wrote hundreds or even thousands of songs. Publishers printed and sold sheet music of their songs, but the composers and lyricists did not get royalties. In those days, if you wanted to make a living in popular music, you had to play or sing, not merely compose songs.


     Although the idea of copyright originated in Europe hundreds of years ago, it wasn’t until the 19th Century that national governments legislated the right (in theory, at least) of writers and composers to a share of the revenue from the sale of printed copies of their works (copyright).


     In 1851, a court case in Paris resulted in songwriters winning the right to get paid for the public performance of their works (performing right), as in a café or music hall.


     In America at the time of Stephen Foster (1826 - 1864), you could make money as a songwriter, but you had to sell your songs outright to a publisher. The publisher was then free to make a fortune selling thousands or even millions of copies of the sheet music. Countless minstrel and music hall troupes touring America and Europe introduced the new songs to the public, songs by Foster, Daniel Emmett (composer of “Dixie”), and others. Millions of people worldwide bought the sheet music, which they played and sang at home. Countless professional musicians and singers made money performing Foster’s tunes.


     Although Foster sold some of his best songs outright, he has the distinction of being one of the first professional songwriters to demand and get songwriting royalties. At his peak, he actually made a living from sheet music royalties at a time when other songwriters relied on performance fees for their income.


     In 1886, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works internationalized this principle (since revised at least half a dozen times). This led to the establishment in France of the industry’s first performing rights organization. Italy, Spain, and Austria followed suit, all before 1900. The UK established a performing rights society in 1914 (PRS), the United States in 1917 (ASCAP).


     The advent of recorded music in the form of piano rolls and gramophone records made it necessary, beginning with the Berlin Act of 1908 (part of the international Berne Convention), to recognize the right of songwriters to get paid for the “mechanical” distribution of their songs (mechanical right).


     When radio broadcasting came along in the 1920s, performing rights were extended to include broadcast performances of songs, both live and recorded. This was an extension of the principle of getting paid for sheet music sales.


     Today, the mechanical right extends to all “mechanical soundcarriers”—CDs in record stores, songs used in movies and commercials, Internet-based song sales, and so on.


     The medium that began it all—sheet music—doesn’t generate much revenue for songwriters anymore.

 

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You are reading the FREE SAMPLE Chapters 1 through 6 of the acclaimed 12-Chapter book, How Music REALLY Works!, 2nd Edition. Here's what's in Chapters 7 through 12. 

 

To order the book, click here:

     
 

 

 

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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