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History of music press



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  • Pretty weak and uninformed history without even a mention of Downbeat, which has been around since the '30s, or Guitar Player, which established the genre of music magazines for musicians. But then it seems heavily weighed to the British scene.
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  • 1. History of music magazines
  • 2. Melody MakerDuring the early 1920s, music press documented factual information on the music industry and record sales informations.Melody Maker began in 1926 and at the beginning was famous for their coverage of all aspects of the jazz scene.
  • 3. BillboardIn 1936, Billboard published the first ‘music hit parade’ that gradually evolved into their famous charts from 40s onwards, with airplays and record sales charts. The Billboard charts have since produced the basis for chart countdown slots on radio shows.
  • 4. InkiesWith the music press focusing on releases and sales accounts, the ‘inkies’ became popular. Music inkies extended information on music into articles and interviews with artists. They also provided detailed coverage of independent label and non- mainstream artists. For example, in the 70s inkies were the only source of information on indie music.
  • 5. NMEWith the arrival of NME in the mid 50s, music newspapers assumed a more youth-orientated format. They still had the tabloid newspaper format and monochrome ‘newspaper print’ but they now featured weekly information on record releases and articles on artists and their music. During the 60s and 70s NME and Melody Maker were the only updated source of information on the music scene.
  • 6. FanzinesRock fanzines emerged in 1960 expressed the desire to document a ‘scene’ that is often too new for the music press to comment on. Fanzines are often the first to document a new movement. For example, punk fanzine Sniffin’ Glue was the first British publication to document the punk movement.
  • 7. Rolling StoneDuring the 60s, advertisers and music companies’ interests were put before the music fan’s interests. Rolling Stone was first published in 1967 and it saw music as part of a culture and had articles about music and social changes and music’s power to articulate political concerns.
  • 8. Smash HitsSmash Hits, first publish in 1978, was the first genre- specific magazine. With its pop emphasis, it was the first publication specifically targeting teenagers, with its backstage gossip and ‘personality’ interviews.
  • 9. Kerrang!, Mixmag, Classic RockIn the 80s and 90s magazines with a similar template as Smash Hits, but more music orientated emerged. Genre-specific magazines such a Kerrang!, with a rock focus; Mixmag, covering dance and club music; The Source, exploring hip-hop and rap; and Classic Rock, focusing on older rock bands.