Introducing the Music Industries


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Introductory lecture. . .

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  • SACEM – the world’s first collection agency was formed in 1850 after composers had heard their work performed in a café and refused to pay for meal. French legislation was the starting point for performance rights and the advent of global collective collection societies.
  • SACEM – the world’s first collection agency was formed in 1850 after composers had heard their work performed in a café and refused to pay for meal. French legislation was the starting point for performance rights and the advent of global collective collection societies.
  • Introducing the Music Industries

    1. 1. John Williamson / 9th January 2012
    2. 2.  “It is amazing how things have changed since I bought my first album and had to catch the bus into Livingston to go to the record shop. Now you just press a button.” Susan Boyle (IFPI, 2011: 4)
    3. 3.  What are ‘the music industries’ and how are they defined? How do we understand how they operate? Music as a cultural / creative industry Characteristics of cultural industries . .music as copyright/ lobbying industries Components of the music industries – recording, live music, outsiders . . . .
    4. 4.  Each of these will address some of the major issues in the contemporary music industries, for example:  Declining sales in recording industry post 1999  Upturn in live music & music publishing revenues  Changing make up and nature of firms involved in music industries.  Digital Music and “Piracy”
    5. 5.  Some starting points – the industrialisation of music Key dates in the history of music industries Changing face of the music industries – turning points Industry, industries or does it matter? Some further discussion of the contemporary issues.
    6. 6.  Historical Overview – what were the key events in the industrialisation of music? Once we accept that music is in fact an industry (or industries) how do we go about describing it/ them?
    7. 7.  Take Philip Tagg’s timeline and (in pairs) make a list of what you consider to be the four most important events in the industrialisation of music. Add 1 other event (perhaps from the last ten years) that is not listed but which you consider to be of considerable significance in the shaping of today’s music industry/ music industries
    8. 8.  Reducing it to when musicians started to make money from music. First charging for sheet music. Printing press invented circa 1450, first machine printed music in 1473. Basis of the C.19th music industry. Charging for performances. Initially, limited because of ‘employed’ nature of musicians. First performance royalties: France circa 1850
    9. 9.  Charging for recorded music: became possible with the advent of the phonograph (1877), mass production possible in 1890s, development of discs, advent of record companies in early part of C20th. If these were the main sources of income for musicians and writers then it is possible to view 3 sectors/ strands/ industries: live, publishing, recording
    10. 10.  These were the starting points – but how have these industries developed? 2 major turning points:  The End of Tin Pan Alley / Advent of Rock’n’Roll (late 1950s, early 1960s)  Digitisation (1980s onwards) These (arguably) have had the greatest historical impact on the industry (ies) and how they are structured/ work.
    11. 11.  Tin Pan Alley – publishers dominant, selling of songs for flat fees, often for theatre / musicals and printing of sheet music. Lasted until the Brill Building era where songwriters still wrote specifically for other artists. Even with the advent of rock’n’roll most of the stars still did not write their own songs. This changed with the likes of Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Smokey Robinson etc. The writers became became performers and vice versa.
    12. 12.  This fundamentally changed the function of record companies and music publishers. Peterson (1990) is the best source for description of this period of change – “Why 1955?” – arguing that technology, legislation, structure of the industry, demographics and career structure all changed the way that the music industry as it stood worked.
    13. 13.  The advent of rock’n’roll resulted in a huge expansion in the size/ turnover of record labels, publishers and concert promoters through the 1960s and 1970s. Economic conditions meant a downturn at the end of the 1970s/ early 80s before period of rapid and continual growth which coincided with first phase of new digital technologies
    14. 14.  This included the advent of the CD (1982) and CD burners in the early 1990s. Initially, CDs were a huge boost to sales as prices were higher and costs lower; consumers replaced vinyl buying music they already owned again – but Ability to make high quality copies (not possible with vinyl cassettes) was to prove downfall of recording industry.
    15. 15.  During this period: 1984-1999 – sales rose every year, recording industry by far the largest sector within the music industry/ industries Advent of CD burning and the mpeg3 (mp3) file meant consumers could easily share music, accelerated by the advent of the internet and increasingly high capacities of computers and telecom networks
    16. 16.  The combination of these (especially high speed internet) and advent of file sharing mechanisms (peer to peer) in the form of Napster and similar applications resulted in a new set of logics at work across the different parts of the ‘music industry’ – notably in format, distribution and a new set of problems. . .
    17. 17.  Much of the rest of the course will deal with these in detail – the response and changes within the companies involved as well as the business implications – what (if anything) has replaced recorded music as a source of income and how has this played out. . .but taking a step back first. . . .
    18. 18. 1. Industry, industries, or does it matter?2. How do we approach the study of them? 1 may be the more interesting, 2 the more important!
    19. 19.  Williamson & Cloonan(2007) argue for the plural. . This seemed like an extremely important definition at the time of writing (2005), though possibly less so now. There were a number of reasons – but it goes back to the changing source of income (recording, publishing & live being the main, but not only ones) that go back to the early C.20th.
    20. 20.  It was our view that this was not reflected in most academic accounts of the ‘music industry’ and that historically this separation had become more important than ever. Essentially, this was a political argument: that the notion of a single music industry was being used by the recording industry to influence government policy in their favour. There is still evidence of this, though weakening of claims to speak for the ‘industry’
    21. 21.  Also academic implications: we argued that Negus et al ‘give academic credence to to the major recording companies’ claims (that) they are the music industry’ Whether we refer to the music industry or music industries, it is important to note:  It is not synonymous with the recording industry  Recording industry is no longer dominant  Need to recognise the “diversity of interests and scale of activities in different areas of music production”
    22. 22.  This is also a contested area – but the major music industries are recording, live music and publishing. Much debate on which of the peripheral music industries / income streams can be included in definitions These include merchandising, instrument manufacturing, other retailers, management, distribution, promot ion, radio/ other media, etc. etc.
    23. 23.  Having considered the debates around what constitute the music industries – how do we come up with what Frith describes as ”an account of the contemporary music industry that is empirically accurate and theoretically instructive”? (2000)
    24. 24.  Each of you will have an article(s) to read on some of the main issues facing the music industries today. Read and digest, then explain back to the group – what you have read, why it is important and what the implications are for the music industries.
    25. 25.  Story 1: Restructuring of the major recording companies (Warners and EMI) Story 2: Collusion between the biggest record labels and concert promoters – new types of company? Story 3: Spotify, streaming and payment Story 4: Pressure on governments / copyright debates