In the forties the major record companies decided to abandon the black artists, race records and their black audience for the following reasons:
The Mills Brothers, The Ink Spots and Nat "King" Cole were exceptions as they had consistently shown an ability to appeal to whites.
This void would be filled by hundreds of small independent
companies. The most important were New York's Atlantic
Records, Chicago's Chess Records, Cincinnati's King Records, Los Angeles Specialty
Records and Memphis' Sun Records.
It wouldn't be until the mid-fifties that the Majors would discover the error of their ways.
Founding, Subsidaries, Executives, Artists, etc
The large publishing houses "Tin Pan Alley" allied with ASCAP ( American Society of Composers and Publishers) in 1914. ASCAP's function was to institute and administer the collection of a royalty each time a licensed song was played. Most of ASCAP's revenue originally came from sheet music, variety shows, dance band programs, etc. that aired on radio. However, this changed and radio stations became the largest income source when they began playing prerecorded music. The radio stations felt that they shouldn't have to pay. It was felt their playing of the music amounted to free advertising that would generated larger sales. ASCAP also, chose not to license race (R&B) or hillbilly music (country.).
Enter BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated). BMI was formed in 1940 as an alternative for radio broadcasters tried of ASCAP high fees charged for playing any song they licensed, which nearly all the popular songs were. BMI licensed rhythm and blues, country and eventually rock and roll.
ASCAP began demanding a 100% income increase from publishing fees in 1950. The radio stations bulked and many completely banned ASCAP recordings. BMI now no longer had any competition and won by default. Eventually ASCAP settled for less than original fees and now found BMI to a full fledged competitor that by the mid-fifties would have the lions share of popular recordings.
ASCAP was horrified at state of music and attempted to damage BMI. by accusing it and members of various illegalities of payola. They felt that the only reason that rock and roll had become a force to be reckoned with was because of payola. It was at ASCAP's urgings that the House Oversight Subcommittee held hearings to look into "payola."
By the end of decade differences were negligible as ASCAP by necessity pursued and nurtured new material and BMI continued as it had been doing.
The Big Bands died because of the following
Musicians wanting more independence
The result of the above was club owners put in tables and chairs, precipitating jazz's estrangement from popular audiences, and the music splintered into subgenres. Instrumental jazz evolved into a modern concert music you sat and listened to.Home