The Global Jukebox: The International Music Industry

By Robert Burnett | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

The music industry in transition

A change to a new type of music is something to beware of as a hazard of all our fortunes. For the modes of music are never distributed without unsettling of the most fundamental political and social conventions.

(Plato, The Republic)

In Chapter 4 we shall examine the transition taking place in the contemporary international music industry. Worldwide sales figures are presented to highlight some recent international trends. I will also discuss the main actors in the international music industry.


AN INDUSTRY IN TRANSITION

The phonogram industry has been ‘international’ for some time now. As Gronow (1983) has perceptively noted, the industry can be historically divided into three important ‘expansion’ periods. The first was prior to the First World War, a time when the industry developed many of its present day working structures and established itself around the world.

The second expansion period took place in the late 1920s, only to end with the onset of the depression. Following the depression radio and film took over the prominent position that recordings had held.

The third expansion period started in the late 1950s and ended in the late 1970s. During this time record sales grew rapidly throughout the industrialized countries and the phonogram became an established medium worldwide. Gronow further suggests that recordings, as a mass medium, have now reached a saturation point, hence the lack of real sales growth in the industrialized world.

Any contemporary work on the international music industry must therefore take into account the downturn of industry sales in the late 1970s. This ‘crisis’ hit the industry after more than 30 years of constant growth.

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The Global Jukebox: The International Music Industry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Tables xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Music and the Entertainment Industry 8
  • Chapter 3 - Music as Popular Culture 29
  • Chapter 4 - The Music Industry in Transition 44
  • Chapter 5 - The Production of Popular Music 64
  • Chapter 6 - The Consumption of Popular Music 81
  • Chapter 7 - The American Example 99
  • Chapter 8 - The Swedish Example 120
  • Chapter 9 - Future Sounds: a Global Jukebox? 138
  • Postscript 149
  • Bibliography 153
  • Index 166
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