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Sound Recording and Popular Music
Transcript of Sound Recording and Popular Music
Entrepreneurial Stage: Thomas Edison envisioned the phonograph as an answering machine.
Mass Medium Stage: The gramophone and technology for record duplication allowed people to collect and play back recordings. Novelty Stage Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville Entrepreneurial Stage The Mass Medium Stage Emile Berliner
Born in Germany in 1851 and came to the United States as a young man.
He was interested in telephones at first and actually figured out how to make sound transmit better.
After working for a telephone company as a research assistant for a short while, he became an independent inventor.
Berliner began experimenting with sound recording.
He at first thought celluloid would be the material of choice for his flat disks.
However, celluloid was too flimsy to bear repeated playings with the very big, heavy needles used in the 1890s.
Berliner’s early celluloid disks are extremely rare. Victor Talking Machine Company Eventually, the Victor Talking Machine Company would become the leading manufacturer of phonographs and phonograph records.
It's rumored that the name Victrola came from the gramophone being a "victory" for business and science.
The Victrola, designed and released to the public in 1906, was a mechanical method of recreating sound, by use of a funnel-like horn that concentrated sound waves vibrating from a diaphragm that moved across the grooved wax disc. Tape
The next major advancement in recording technology was the creation of audio recording on tape.
In the 1930s, tape recording was difficult and cumbersome because it required large machines called reel-to-reel devices.
It took a lot of tape to make a recording and the early tapes were easily broken.
During World War II, German Engineers resolved the issue of delicate tapes by developing plastic magnetic tape. French Printer
Used a hog's h air bristle as a needle to carve grooves in a revolving cylinder with a thick liquid called "lamp black"
Patented the phonautograph (France 1857)
The device could record sound, but it couldn't play it back.
No one would hear the recording until 2008, when a researcher discovered a forgotten copy of the recording. Edison's Ideas on Phonograph
(North American Review 1878) 1. Letter writing and all kinds of dictation without the aid of a stenographer.
2. Phonographic books, which will speak to blind people without effort on their part.
3. The teaching of elocution.
4. Reproduction of music.
5. The "Family Record"--a registry of sayings, reminiscences, etc. by members of a family in their own voices, and of the last words of dying persons.
6. Music boxes and toys.
7. Clocks that could announce in articulate speech the time for going home, going to meals, etc.
8. The preservation of languages by exact reproduction of the manner of pronouncing.
9. Educational purposes such as preserving the explanations made by a teacher, so that the pupil can refer to them at any moment, and spelling or other lessons placed upon the phonograph for convenience in committing to memory.
10. Connection with the telephone, so as to make that instrument an auxiliary in the transmission of permanent and invaluable records, instead of being the recipient of momentary and fleeting communication. Thomas Edison
Invented the phonograph (1877)
Patented in 1878.
Phono (sound) + Graph (Writing)
The invention etched a foil lined cylinder with impressions from sound waves, essentially "writing" sound. Thomas Edison
Issued over 1000 patents in his lifetime:
389 for electric light and power
195 for the phonograph
150 for the telegraph
141 for storage batteries
34 for the telephone "This tongueless, toothless instrument, without larynx or pharynx, mimics your tones, speaks with your voice, utters your words and centuries after you have crumbled into dust, may repeat ever idle thought, every fond fancy, every vain word that you choose to whisper against the thin, iron diaphragm... I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others... Of all my inventions I like the phonograph best... I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill it."--Thomas Edison Edison tested his phonograph for the first time by recording "Mary Had A Little Lamb" One of the major problems with Edison's original phonograph is that the cylinders were impractical as recording materials:
•They broke easily and wore out quickly.
•They could not be mass-produced (only copied in very limited numbers).
•They were hard to store as they took up too much room.
•Instead of labels (which didn’t exist until Emile Berliner’s flat disks arrived), cylinders relied on printed paper slips, which were then inserted into Emile Berliner patented the gramophone, which used zinc records coated in wax.
The records played on a turntable. The gramophone was also called a graphophone.
Both these words were replaced by the more popular term phonograph.
Berliner turned to hard rubber disks in 1893.
Berliner began to use shellac disks in 1895. The Victrola costs anywhere from $15 for table top models to about $600 for cabinet styles.
Adjusting for inflation, that's about $400-15,000 in 2012 Dollars. The Victrola made phonography a mass medium and the early singers and musicians that were recorded on the disc created what we now see in our present day culture of music celebrities. The recording discs had red labels and were called "Red Seal" records. Phonography was the source of home music and recordings until radio came on the scene.
Although radio impacted the sale of records, the recording industry eventually learned to use the new medium to market artists and recordings. The major benefit of tape over discs was that tapes could be edited and manipulated to allow for multiple tracks on one recording.
Although this was important and improved recordings in the industry for distribution, the audio tape would not catch on for home consumers until the inventors could come up with a recording and play back device that would allow average people to use record sound.
In the 1960s, engineers encased the tape in plastic cases and developed portable devices for home recording.
This technology would threaten the recording industry in the 1970s, when record sales dropped due to consumers making their own recordings of records and radio programs. Stereophonic Sound The recording industry was bolstered from the threat of tapes by the creation of stereophonic sound.
In 1931, Alan Blumlein invented stereo sound, which was two separate recorded tracks merged into one recording to create a more life-like playback.
Stereo sound wasn't used commercially until the late 1950s.
This early promotional video for stereophonic sound lets you become familiar with this 1950's "miracle" of technology:
The advancements in computers in the 1970s led to the ability to record sound digitally using ones and zeros in a numerical code to store information.
This was a exponential improvement on the previous analog methods of recording sound with mechanical or electrical impressions of sound waves.
Although Sony and Philips were working on the commercial use of digital recording in the late 1970s, the first compact discs would not be released to consumers until 1983. Just four years later, CDs outsold records two to one.
The invention of the CD was both a blessing and a curse for the music industry.
At first, fans flocked to the music stores to replace their records with CDs, and by the early 1990s, hit albums on CD were selling in greater numbers than were hit albums on vinyl.
CDs also turned out to be a brilliant way of repackaging a label’s “catalogue”—all the recordings no longer in production on vinyl.
CDs spawned record executives whose skill was in putting together compilations of existing music rather than in discovering new artists.
CDs also made it a lot easier to copy music and gave rise to a flourishing piracy industry. Digital Recording MP3s In 1992, the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) (MP3) file format was developed allowing digital recordings to be compressed to smaller file sizes than made possible by CDs.
This was accomplished by limiting the accuracy of certain parts of the recording that were outside the range of human hearing.
MP3s work by "shrinking audio files in such a way that sound quality is preserved, but the file size is significantly smaller than it would be as a regular CD song file.
This means you’re able to download an entire song in a few seconds with a high speed Internet connection. Karlheinz Brandenburg worked for the Fraunhofer Society and used Susanne Vega's song Tom's Diner to fine tune MP3 compression.
He said that he heard the song playing on the radio when he was working on the compression algorithm and felt it would be a good test of compression since her voice was so warm on the recording.
Some people now call Vega the "Mother of the MP3" for the role her recording played in developing MP3 technology.
Apparently, the first attempts were described by Brandenburg as "horrible" to hear. While music’s convergence with radio saved the radio industry in the 1950s, music’s convergence with the Internet began to unravel the music industry in the 2000s.
The rise of MP3s in the late 1990s led to rampant illegal downloading and file-swapping, which resulted in copyright lawsuits by artists and record companies.
The recording industry is now adapting its business to the digital age by embracing legal downloading. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade organization that represents 85% of United States recording distributors.
•protect intellectual property rights for artists
•protect First Amendment rights for artists
•research the music industry and monitor laws, regulations and policies
In 2001, the RIAA went after Napster. Napster allowed users to trade music files by logging into a centralized system.
This video uses screenshots from the Way Back Internet Machine to recreate the history of Napster: RIAA and NAPSTER Here's a great video that explains the RIAA/Napster lawsuit: Many artists in the 2000s have taken strong stances on both sides of the issue.
Lars from Metallica was a dominant voice against illegal downloading services like Napster.
Another way to share music that threatened the recording industry was Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing over services like Limewire, KaZaA, iMesh, Bearshare, eDonkey, and Grokster.
A P2P network works by allowing users to share files from their own computers with another user's home computer.
The files are tracked through a centralized server, but files are not stored on the company's centralized server.
Each user retains their original copy on their home computer. In 2002, the RIAA went after the P2P networks by distributing copy protected CDs that could not be uploaded or burned.
Between 2005 and 2010, the major P2P networks were sued by the RIAA and the Courts issued multi million dollar lawsuits that led to most of the services being shutdown or converted to legal business models. BitTorrent A related method for sharing files is Bittorrent.
Bittorrent is quite different from early file-sharing methods such as Napster in that it is optimized for very large files, making it incredibly useful for transferring video.
According to varying figures, Bittorrent accounts for between 18-55 percent of all Internet traffic.
Bittorrent is also a fragmented network built on a vast selection of different clients and Web sites, which makes it hard for large media companies to track down illegal file-sharing practices. Another file-sharing strategy is to go private. In this scenario, users close ranks and form private groups in which members exchange files. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) began suing U.S. citizens for illegal file-sharing in 2003.
After a period of attacking U.S. universities, where file-sharing is rampant, the RIAA recently scaled back its tactic of suing individual students.
Universities are now spending as much as $100,000 a year on software that blocks illicit visits to file-sharing Web sites.
What are UF's rules for downloading? Beyond shutting down P2P Web sites (e.g., Napster, KaZaA) and suing people who have illegally downloaded copyrighted songs and videos, the RIAA is employing a few other counterpiracy methods in its fight to protect copyrighted content:
•Decoys. A media company uploads files to large P2P networks and places a decoy (garbage or promotional content) instead of the real thing.
•Stuck torrents. A media company uploads a file that stops loading when it is 97 percent done. The remaining parts (stuck torrents) never get released, frustrating the user. This tactic is most effective on users who are new to the P2P network. The hope is that when they encounter stuck torrents, they will abandon the site.
•Swarming. A company pretends it has some part of an existing torrent’s file, and when asked for parts of the file it sends garbage, polluting the recipient’s download.
•Copy-restriction software (DRM). DRM stands for digital rights management, an all- encompassing term for the scrambling and encryption systems that control what someone can do with digital audio and video files. The most common form of DRM limits the number of times downloaders can copy a file (iTunes limits the number of downloads to five). iTunes Plus is a new worldwide portal for the company’s popular iTunes Music Store that will sell only DRM-free music. Music in the Cloud
Subscribers pay to stream unlimited music (for a monthly fee) rather than pay to download individual songs.
Such services could potentially render MP3 players obsolete, as Internet- capable, multi-purpose devices like the iPad and smartphones become ubiquitous. Records and Radio
The free programming of radio threatened the recording industry.
The marriage of the two media eventually enabled both to prosper.
Radio stations currently enjoy a federal exemption from paying royalties to performers and record labels because, as they argue, airplay sells music. (They do, however, pay small royalty sums to composers and publishers.)
That may be changing, though, as the music industry continues to face declines in sales and panic about revenue.
In 2007, the RIAA and several artists’ groups made a move to push Congress to repeal the exemption.
This type of move, if successful in the future, could generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually in new royalties but deliver a severe blow to the radio industry.
While a bill was introduced, as of August 2010, no final outcome was reached.
Currently, legislation is pending in Congress. U.S. Popular Music and the Formation of Rock
Popular music today includes a diverse number of styles and was influenced by the piano craze of the early twentieth century, jazz, blues, and vaudeville.
Rock and roll hit in the 1950s and was considered the first integrationist music in the United States.
Rock and Roll developed out of two musical genres: blues and rhythm and blues.
In the 1950s, rebellious teenagers were attracted to the new genre.
Rock and Roll gained popularity in part due to the breakdown of racial barriers between white and black cultures.
Rock and roll tested traditional boundaries in five critical ways. High and Low Culture
In the 1940s and 1950s, “cats” was the nickname for working-class white southern kids who lived alongside blacks in the poorer sections of town and often worked with blacks at the same low- paying jobs.
The cats related more to urban black culture than to white hillbilly culture, and they bought an increasing number of R&B records.
They also tended to buy flamboyant clothes with wild color combinations at stores that catered primarily to young urban black males.
Elvis, who bought his clothes at Lansky’s in Memphis, was a cat and used to prefer loud pink-and-black color combos. Other cat outfits featured huge winged collars, pegged pants, and shiny fabrics.
Shoes were often made of imitation leopard skin and other exotic patterns.
Songs like “Roll over Beethoven” challenged the supremacy of high culture. Masculinity and Femininity
Elvis entered the rock-and-roll scene at a time when the median marriage age for women was twenty and a half years and for men, twenty-two and a half—the youngest age of marriage for Americans in the twentieth century.
Once young women, many of them teenagers, married, they were expected to start a family, fulfill the domestic role of homemaker, and take their place in society as the chief household consumer.
With feminine success defined as a marriage of appropriate status and then motherhood, teen girls had to constantly negotiate the difficult role of keeping marriageable boys sexually interested while preserving their virginity until marriage.
In much the same way that African American women in the 1920s used the blues to reclaim control of their own sexuality, white middle-class teenage girls of the 1950s found rock-and-roll music to be a medium through which they could begin resisting the limiting structure of sexual roles that confronted them in post–World War II America. To the horror of political leaders and “the social order,”
Elvis provided a stage for girls to safely experience and express sexual pleasure and freedom without being branded as “bad girls.”
The recording industry responded to the parental and political concern over girls acting out at rock concerts by bringing in clean-cut singers like the very white, already married Pat Boone as an antidote to stars like Elvis, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Rock-and-roll stars such as Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, and Little Richard often employed androgynous appearances, confusing issues of sexuality.
a The Country and the City.
The rockabilly sound (Buddy Holly and Carl Perkins) merged urban Memphis rhythms with Nashville country & western; rhythm and blues spilled into rock and roll. The North and South.
Many young northern middle-class teens loved the southern lower-class-influenced rock and roll. The Sacred and the Secular.
Many of rock and roll’s early figures had close ties to the church and gospel music. Battles in Rock and Roll
White Cover Music Undermines Black Artists
Clean-cut white artists were employed to cover black performers, who were considered too controversial in the racist atmosphere of the 1950s. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper (J. P. “Jape” Richardson), along with Dion and the Belmonts and others, were on a two-week tour in February 1959 called the Winter Dance Party.
The old drafty tour bus kept breaking down, so Buddy Holly hired a charter plane to fly to Fargo, North Dakota. He was joined by the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.
The plane crashed due to weather and pilot error.
Everyone died on impact.
Don McLean’s “American Pie,” which chronicles the tragedy, became one of the most popular songs in the country in 1972. Motown (short for “motor town”)
Headquartered in the auto-making center of Detroit.
Motown was so successful that Detroit was known as Hitsville USA.
Marvin Gaye appeared on the Motown scene in 1962. He was a tall, skinny singer with a silky voice that he had honed by singing in church.
Gaye had an enormous amount of sex appeal onstage, and women regularly swooned at his concerts.
Had duet hits with Tammi Terrell:
“Your Precious Love” (1967)
“Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” (1968)
Terrell collapsed while performing a duet in 1967. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died in 1970. Gaye stopped performing, but released his hit "Sexual Healing" in the early eighties. In 1984, he was fatally shot by his father—a retired Pentecostal minister—during an argument. The Velvet Underground:
Lou Reed (pop, poetry and journalism)
John Cale (avant-garde music)
Reed’s lyrics--about heroin, sadomasochism, homosexuality, and violence--have been described as having a "beat-reporter quality" seemed realistic and were said to be inspired by his experiences on the New York Streets. Why was "God Save the Queen Banned?" The Sex Pistols were manufactured... just like the Monkees.
Malcolm McLaren "built" the Sex Pistols to be a profitable band. He took a janitor with Charisma (John Lyndon) and made him into the band's lead singer Johnny Rotten.
He then added Glen Matlock, a clothing store clerk.
He then added two professional musicians--Paul Cook and Steve Jones.
The Sex Pistols’ first single, “Anarchy in the U.K.” rocked social lines in the UK. The song begins with "I am an Antichrist..."
Johnny Rotten called a national talk show host a "dirty bastard" on air.
Glen Matlock quit and was replaced by sid Vicious.
The band's next hit, “God Save the Queen,” was so heavy-handedly antimonarchy that it was banned all over Britain.
Sid and Nancy (1986) tells the love story of Sid Vicious and American Sex Pistol groupie Nancy Spungen. Before coming to America, the Beatles were already very popular in Britain. When they left Heathrow Airport on February 7, 1964, four thousands fan were there to see them off.
They had finally had their breakthrough in 1962 with..... Love, Love Me Do. By early 1964, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was on heavy radio rotation in the U.S. and had sold 1.5 million copies in less than three weeks. The bands arrival in the states was advertised on five million posters across America.
It was the start of Beatlemania and the British Invasion.
Capitol Records watched the band’s fame in Britain with caution and did not issue any singles until the end of 1963.
On December 10, 1963, Walter Cronkite decided to reuse a story on the CBS Evening News that featured the band. The original air date for that story had been bumped due to the Kennedy Assassination.
The crowd that met the Fab Four at JFK in NY also numbered in the thousands.
The Beatles were taken by Limousine to NYC
On February 9, 1964, the Beatles made their first live appearance on U.S. Television (73 million viewers) when they played The Ed Sullivan Show "Real" 1970's Punk Rock and the legacy it has created is a rebellion against orthodoxy and a challenge to the commercialism of the record business. Rap emerged in the late 1970's and was seen by some as political protest. Motor City Music PUNK-Grunge-ALternative The British are COming! Punk was to the Seventies what Grunge was to the Nineties. The Sex Pistols
At their first public performance at St. Martin’s College of Art in London in 1975, the school’s social secretary went backstage and cut off the band’s electrical supply.
Their music was angry, energetic, funny, nihilist and rhythmic--it shook things up socially in Europe. Top Four Major Record Companies: Universal, Sony, Warner Music, and EMI
Today’s music industry is built around the idea of diversification into merchandise sales, concert tickets and advertising.
The record industry has been hurt by illegal file downloads on music sharing sites, as well as burnable CDs.
NYT’s writer Neil Strauss has suggested that their might be other reasons the industry is hurting:
The consolidation of radio stations, which makes it harder to expose new songs or bands
The current lack of a widely popular musical trend
A poor economy
A wider variety of products competing for teenagers’ time and money (DVDs, video games, clothes, etc.)
The end of the surge in CD sales that resulted from people replacing their vinyl records
Less interesting products put out by the major labels. As part of international corporations, they take a closer look at their balance sheets and are less willing to take risks.
Strauss quotes a record-label executive who says, “Money is not being put into marketing and A&R because people don’t want to spend the money because it looks bad on the balance sheet.” Music Sales in Decline Turn, Turn, Turn
Rock’s status as the best-selling genre is beginning to slip.
Some artists are seeking deals with unconventional partners.
In 2007, Paul McCartney parted ways with Capitol Records and distributed his album, Memory Almost Full, on the Hear Music label (Starbucks). Starbucks can play the CD in coffee shops around the country to promote it.
McCartney: “It’s a new world.” Other artists are taking on the role of self-promoter.
In 1996, The Artist formerly known as Prince, parted ways with Warner Brothers Records after 20 years. He painted the word Slave on his face and said Warner was limiting his creativity. “The artist formerly known as Prince” has since used the Internet to upload and digitally distribute his albums. In 2007, the Daily Mail (UK) included his Planet Earth CD in its Sunday edition. The sound recording industry is controlled by a global oligopoly of companies. Although recording industry sales have dropped since 2000, the U.S. and global music business constitutes a powerful oligopoly. Together, four companies control more than 85 percent of the recording industry market in the United States. Independent labels produce 11 to 15 percent of America’s music. Universal Music Group, already the biggest record label, became the world’s biggest music publisher in 2007 after closing its purchase of BMG Music publisher of songs by artists like Keane for more than $2 billion. EMI, which represents such artists as the Beatles, Robbie Williams, Norah Jones, and Coldplay, is also a big music publisher; 60 percent of EMI’s income comes from publishing. The healthiest sector of the music business at the moment is music publishing, in which a company represents a number of songwriters (who may or may not also be performers) who earn money when their songs are used in TV commercials, video games, or other media. The publishing arm collects royalties when a track by one of the firm’s artists is played live, on the radio, or via any other medium, offering private equity a reliable stream of revenue. MG and TT on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. 1966 footage of the band by Andy Warhol Sid and Nancy Jack Straw
1972 Talking Heads Patti Smith (1979) The Ramones 1981 Bikini Kill 1993 Le Tigre FYR 200 For next time:
Ask your grandparents or/and parents what their first album was.
What technologies (records/tapes/cds) do they remember using?
What was your first "Album" that you bought?