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The Business of Music

The Business of Music

edited by Michael Talbot
Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    The Business of Music
    Book Description:

    Is business, for music, a regrettable necessity or a spur to creativity? Are there limits to the influence that economic factors can or should exert on the musical imagination and its product? In the eleven essays contained in this book the authors wrestle with these questions from the perspective of their chosen area of research. The range is wide: from 1700 to the present day; from the opera house to the community centre; from composers, performers and pedagogues to managers, publishers and lawyers; from piano miniatures to folk music and pop CDs. If there is a consensus, it is that music serves its own interests best when it harnesses business rather than denying it.

    eISBN: 978-1-84631-271-7
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-9)
    Michael Talbot

    The double meaning of the title for this volume, and for the symposium that preceded it, is of course intended. The first meaning, which one could paraphrase as ‘What music is (or ought to be) about’, contrasts with the second, which is: ‘How music is produced and consumed, bought and sold’. But even if the two meanings are quite different, they are intertwined. No one is so naive as to imagine that the material circumstances of music’s existence leave no mark whatever on its character. The important questions are, rather, whether such influences are (or should be) central or marginal...

  5. 1 A Venetian Operatic Contract of 1714
    (pp. 10-61)
    Michael Talbot

    Contracts are useful documents for historical research, even if their significance is based more on inference than on fact. They do not say what happened, but they point unequivocally to what was feared might happen. Embedded in them is the memory of past mishaps and misunderstandings. They also illuminate, again obliquely rather than directly, the power relationship between the parties. Whoever sets the most conditions or exacts the heaviest penalties is likely to be the dominant party. Lastly, they can reveal a lot about the financial calculations underpinning the operations to which they refer: how much was spent, when it...

  6. 2 What Choirs Also Sang: Aspects of Provincial Music Publishing in Late-nineteenth-century England
    (pp. 62-95)
    Judith Blezzard

    A conspicuous feature of nineteenth-century English musical life was the establishment of a large number of firms trading in music, offering items and services as diverse as a burgeoning market for music demanded. There were sellers and repairers of musical instruments, many of whom manufactured their own instruments for sale, organ builders and firms dealing solely with the manufacture, sale and maintenance of pianos. There were ‘professors of music’, which in the present context means persons who professed, or taught, music. These professors sometimes organised themselves into commercial groups, perhaps under the title of ‘Academy’, and many of them also...

  7. 3 The Modernisation of London Concert Life around 1900
    (pp. 96-120)
    Simon McVeigh and Cyril Ehrlich

    Historians have recently been much exercised with debate about changing patterns of consumption and the rise of consumerism. The pioneering work of J. H. Plumb, Neil McKendrick and John Brewer placed the focus firmly on Georgian Britain.¹ Subsequent research has explored the expansion and transformation of consumer culture in the later nineteenth century: the topics covered include shopping, the rise of a ‘mass market’ and the changing social role of goods and leisure, the relationship of the private and public spheres (as well as of suburbs and the centre) and the place of women in urban society.² Historians have recently...

  8. 4 Debussy, Durand et Cie: A French Composer and His Publishers (1884–1917)
    (pp. 121-151)
    Robert Orledge

    In the new era of Internet publishing and self-promotional Web sites it might seem that the comprehensive services that Durand et Cie provided for Debussy (and Ravel) in the first quarter of the last century no longer had any relevance. Like his father Auguste before him, Jacques Durand acted for his chosen composers as a benevolent factotum. This combination of legal and artistic adviser, impresario, public relations officer, moneylender and personal friend seems like a forgotten ideal in what is now a much more commercially orientated world. Thus, in a halcyon age when composers composed and publishers saw to everything...

  9. 5 Nadia Boulanger (1887–1979): The Teacher in the Marketplace
    (pp. 152-170)
    Caroline Potter

    Although Nadia Boulanger’s reputation as one of the greatest music teachers of the twentieth century is secure, surprisingly little is known about her approach to teaching and the content of her classes. Nadia Boulanger herself is most to blame for this, as she rarely revealed anything of importance about her life or work to interviewers and always turned down offers to publish her teaching materials. She was always keen to emphasise that the musical work, rather than the performer or a commentator on the music, should be the centre of attention.¹ The aura of mystery that she created only enhanced...

  10. 6 Copyright as a Component of the Music Industry
    (pp. 171-194)
    Dave Laing

    The music business can be defined as the ensemble or complex of practices and institutions that make possible and regulate the production, distribution and consumption of music.

    Since music is generally situated in the sphere of the communicative, this definition has the merit of being structurally homologous with the tripartite and venerable model of communication that posits a linear relay between sender, message and receiver. For the purpose of this chapter, it also provides the boundary that ‘contains’ its primary object of analysis: the role of intellectual property rights in relation to the music business.

    Any sustained attempt to unpack...

  11. 7 Illegality and the Music Industry
    (pp. 195-216)
    Simon Frith

    The starting point of this chapter is straightforward: the music industry is dependent on the law. All business in capitalist societies is dependent, of course, on the law: on enforceable contracts and on markets whose ‘freedom’ is a matter of regulation. But the music industry is especially dependent on the law. Some of the implications of this have already been described by Dave Laing in his sophisticated account of ‘The Text of the Law’ that defines the copyright system.¹ But copyright is only one of the legal issues with which contemporary music-makers have to be concerned, and I can best...

  12. 8 The Tarnished Image? Folk ‘Industry’ and Media
    (pp. 217-243)
    Mike Brocken

    Some years ago I conducted a selective review of the contemporary folk industry and media from a popular music perspective as part of my doctoral thesis.² I concluded that historiographical pressures concerning what folk music actually was and how (or, indeed, whether) it should be marketed had acted in such a way as to minimise economic and cultural progress and positively encourage an inefficient, albeit dedicated, distribution network of information and music. I further suggested that this happened to such an extent that some folk music lovers who entered the ‘industry’ and attempted to market the music were subject to...

  13. 9 Collective Responsibilities: The Arts Council, Community Arts and the Music Industry in Ireland
    (pp. 244-262)
    Rob Strachan and Marion Leonard

    This chapter is concerned with how various forms and practices of popular music are addressed and represented within agendas for the arts and in the development of cultural policy. Discussion will centre on the funding policies of the Arts Council of Ireland,¹ the largest funding body for the arts within the Republic. Using the Arts Council as an example, the chapter will discuss how popular music is valued and supported by funding bodies and how views of the music industry are built into institutional understandings of popular music practice. The intention is to question the way in which the music...

  14. 10 Paying One’s Dues: The Music Business, the City and Urban Regeneration
    (pp. 263-291)
    Sara Cohen

    This chapter focuses on the music business in order to explore connections between music and the city. More specifically, it examines policy initiatives of the 1980s and 1990s aimed at developing citybased music industries and thereby improving music’s contribution to urban economies.¹ Using the English city of Liverpool as a case study, the first part of the chapter describes several such initiatives, while the second part highlights key features of the discourse that they generated and outlines the main occupational groups involved with formulating and implementing them.² These groups are shown to have often conflicting interests in, and perspectives on,...

  15. 11 Learning to Crawl: The Rapid Rise of Music Industry Education
    (pp. 292-310)
    Mike Jones

    I find it symbolically apposite that the symposium at which this chapter originated as a paper fell almost exactly at the climax of the first year of the delivery, at the University of Liverpool, of an MBA in Music Industries (MBA MI), a degree for which I act as Course Director. This particular MBA is the first of its kind in the world. ‘The first of its kind in the world’: this phrase cannot but sound like an advertising slogan, and an archaic one at that (at least in terms of the accelerated history of popular culture). It comes with...

  16. Index of Personal Names
    (pp. 311-326)