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The Dynamics of Mass Communication. Seventh Edition. Joseph R. Dominick. Part 3 Electronic Media. Chapter 8 Sound Recording. . Thomas Edison invents phonograph in 1877 (records on metal cylinder format); earliest uses thought to be for dictation and other business needs.

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The dynamics of mass communication

The Dynamics ofMass Communication


Joseph R. Dominick

Part 3

Electronic Media

Chapter 8

Sound Recording

Recording history

. Thomas Edison invents phonograph in 1877 (records on metal cylinder format); earliest uses thought to be for dictation and other business needs.

. Emile Berliner patents gramophone; makes spiral track recordings on a flat disc.

. nickelodeons: 1890s amusement arcade device plays back a two-minute recording for 5 cents; very popular

Recording History


Berliner premiers the Victrola in 1906 cylinder format); earliest uses thought to be for dictation and other business needs.

Design superiority of Victrola and flat-disc record system ends rival-systems conflict between him, Edison, and the Columbia Record Company

By 1914, record players and collections spur a national boom in sales; trend runs hot through the 1920s


Radio s impact on recording industry

Audience’s preference for radio’s “live” music cuts record player sales in half by 1923

Though the recording industry vastly improved their sound system and radio-record player combination devices were promoted, audiences continued to identify radio as the home of “live” music and recorded music as a “canned” sound.

Radio’s Impact on Recording Industry

The depression ww ii and after

The Great Depression record player sales in half by 1923

Hard economy imposes big losses on industry, but a new coin-operated record player called a juke box installed in bars and diners helps rescue the industry. Record sales soar 500%.

World War II and After

Shellac, an ingredient used in records, is deemed a vital war commodity by government, and record making plummets.

American Federation of Musicians' strike, 1942-44; they fear losing jobs to canned music.

Capitol records starts sending free records to radio stations to promote certain songs.

The Depression, WW II, and After

Battle of the speeds

3M Company introduces magnetic recording tape in 1947, makes music editing and multitrack recording possible.

In 1948 Columbia Records introduces the 33 1/3 long-playing record (the LP). RCA debuts 45 rpm record. That starts the "Battle of the Speeds" for format dominance. Soon the 33 1/3 becomes preferred format for albums, the 45 the choice for single hits; the older 78 rpm format quietly disappears.

In the 1950s, stereo players debut, which quickly doubles the number of records being sold.

Battle of the Speeds

Birth and evolution of rock and roll

Rock and roll, a blend of jazz, rhythm and blues, country-western, and popular music, debuts in 1950s.

R&R, now a very profitable format, takes a more wholesome and commercial track in late 1950s, early 1960s.

In 1964, Beatles spearhead upbeat sound from Britain; later, other sounds such as folk and Motown create more diversity.

Birth and Evolution of Rock and Roll

Transitions and trends 1960s 1990s

Always facing roller coaster profitability, the industry gets help from several major trends:

1960s: new music energy reflects social experimentation and freedom of the times

1970s: disco, big name artists, and intro of CDs

1980s: debut of music videos and MTV

1990s: strong new sounds, such as hip hop, rap

Transitions and Trends 1960s-1990s

Recording in the digital age

Napster’s big (and lasting) impact on industry: gets help from several major trends:

Napster’s free file-sharing service becomes a new way to find and distribute music.

Industry begins to react with new marketing and distribution strategies, such as unlimited music files by subscription fee and free downloads in return for home page advertising exposure.

“Disintermediation” trend keeps direction of industry and consumers shrouded in uncertainty.


Defining features of recording
DEFINING FEATURES OF RECORDING gets help from several major trends:

  • Recordings are cultural forces, characterizing social groups, defining movements, setting social trends and shaping our modern culture.

  • Recording is an international business (one U.S. and four foreign companies dominate the global market).

  • The industry is a unique blend of business and talent.

Recording industry organization
RECORDING INDUSTRY ORGANIZATION gets help from several major trends:

The industry can be divided into four areas:

  • talent

  • production

  • distribution (five major types)

    direct retail, rack jobbers, one-stops, direct consumer sales, and online sales

  • retail

Ownership trends
OWNERSHIP TRENDS gets help from several major trends:

The recording industry is one of the most concentrated of all media industries, with five companies accounting for more than 85 percent of all sales. These companies are also multinational conglomerates, with interests in many different industries.

Producing records departments and staff
PRODUCING RECORDS gets help from several major trends:Departments and Staff

The seven departments in a typical recording company:

. artists and repertoire (A&R)

. sales and distribution

. advertising and merchandising

. business

. promotion

. publicity

. artist development

Making an original cd or tape
Making an Original CD or Tape gets help from several major trends:

Step 1: A group makes a demonstration tape, or demo.

Step 2: An agent introduces the demo to recording studio.

Step 3: The studio then records a master tape, often using up to 48 tracks, in a process called multitracking.

Step 4: The recording is professionally blended together. Using multitracking’s ability to record and edit each sound separately, a band can fine tune each person, instrument, person, and effect

Making an original cd or tape con t
Making an Original CD or Tape gets help from several major trends:(Con’t)

Step 5: Next comes the “mix down,” when multiple tracks are blended into a two-track stereo master.

Step 6: Finally, a master is reproduced on tape or disc.

Industry and artist economics
INDUSTRY AND ARTIST ECONOMICS gets help from several major trends:

  • Subject to up and down profits, the industry is currently enjoying an upswing, with a 20 % profit jump in the last few years on sales of $14.5 billion.

  • CDs account for 83% of sales, singles 9%, tapes 8%.

  • Artists, except for superstars, barely earn enough in royalties to cover the advances made for production expenses.

FEEDBACK gets help from several major trends:

Feedback is measured by Billboard’s weekly ratings. Its “Hot-100 Chart” is based on two components: sales and exposure.

For sales figures, Billboard measures the top 50 retail markets on a weekly basis, choosing 185 of the most influential music outlets.

Billboard measures exposure by surveying play lists from 240 leading radio stations, each weighted by audience reach (bigger audiences count more than smaller markets).

The magazine then combines those two figures to forge a final composite figure which is reported as that song’s rating.

AUDIENCE gets help from several major trends:

Since the industry supports itself by music sales rather than ads, there is little demographic data about its audiences.

The data that does exist deals mostly with the number and types of sound equipment, CDs, and tapes in the average household. Sales data, on the other hand, tell us that the over 30 crowd accounts for 55% of all sales, with sliding sales figures for the under 19 crowd.

End of chapter 8 recording industry
End of Chapter 8 gets help from several major trends:Recording Industry