American Popular Music and Its Business: The First Four by Russell Sanjeck

By Russell Sanjeck

This quantity makes a speciality of advancements within the track company within the 20th century, together with vaudeville, track containers, the connection of Hollywood to the track company, the "fall and upward push" of the checklist company within the Nineteen Thirties, new know-how (TV, FM, and the LP list) after global conflict II, the dominance of rock-and-roll and the large elevate within the tune enterprise throughout the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties, and at last the altering song company scene from 1967 to the current, in particular concerning executive laws, song licensing, and the list company.

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Extra resources for American Popular Music and Its Business: The First Four Hundred Years Volume III: From 1900 to 1984 (American Popular Music & Its Business)

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He pointed out that it was a nuisance to players, who did not like to have to turn pages. It also saved thousands of dollars in paper and printing costs and reduced shipping charges by one third. Rather than have his headquarters staff alone judge which songs to promote, he held an annual meeting of all branch managers and key personnel, for whom thirty to fifty songs were demonstrated. Buoyed by this participation in company affairs, Feist employees passed on their enthusiasm to local retail outlets, and the company had more million-copy sellers than all its competition combined.

C. V. Nutting, vice president in charge of buying, guaranteed an order for five million copies, at six and a half cents each, of the new song "Afghanistan," published by a small firm owned by the songwriting vaudevillians L. Wolfe Gilbert and Anatole Friedland. The pair placed an initial print order for 400,000 copies, hired an office staff, and waited for the profits to pour in. " Yet copies piled up on counters and in storerooms, and when local managers returned them, Gilbert and Friedland went bankrupt.

Instead of having to pay the 10 percent royalty it had promised, a fee of only two cents per reproduction was required. Thus the company continued to dominate the piano-roll business. It enjoyed a major share of sales, which grew from 45,414 units in 1909 to a peak in 1919, when 208,541 player pianos of all types, including its own patented Pianola, were sold. The compulsory-licensing requirement was punishment visited on the eighty-seven publishers (who owned 381,598 compositions) who had been party to the Aeolian plan and equally on the 117 music firms (controlling 503,597 pieces) which had not.

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