If you every wonder , why not black own record companies? You can either do some research, blame it on the man and the African American mindset or learn from history.
If I were you, I would learn from history. Although this report could have been a blue print to the down fall of black record companies, it can also be a blue to the rise of new entities based of this concept of emerging markets or musceling in on some else dime.
This story begins in 1972, when a few enterprising masterâs students at the Harvard Business School prepared a study, commissioned by one of Columbiaâs execs, detailing how the Columbia Records Group could better integrate the then largely independent black music industry into the mix. The now infamous Harvard Reportâ"officially known as âA Study of the Soul Music Environmentââ"has often been referred to as a sinister blueprint aimed at arming a litany of âculture banditsâ with the theoretical tools to return black culture to a neo-colonial state. Thereâs no denying that this is exactly the situation weâre staring at now, but it has nothing to do with the Harvard Report. What those MBA students articulated was a no-brainer marketing plan, informed by the commercial success of Motown and the cynical (though not mistaken) view that the Civil Rights ârevolutionâ likely had more to do with the realities that black folk had disposable income and white folk consumed a hell of a lot of black popular culture than anything to do with real structural change in American society. In response to those expecting more sinister designs in the Harvard Report, David Sanjek rhetorically chimes, âwhy did [Columbia] feel the need to document what they should have already known?â (Rhythm and Business, 62). What Sanjek suggests is that eventually somebody in the music industry would have come up with their own version of the Harvard Reportâ"say, Clive Davis, who incidentally was a president at Columbia at the time that the report was commissioned. The point is, with or without the Harvard Report, the takeover was well underway.
Black music has always had a complicated relationship with big business. That this relationship has typically had little to do with actual music perhaps explains the often unbalanced quality of this thing weâve come to call R&B. This complicated relationship also partly explains what exactly R&B is. The term R&B is essentially a shortened version of âRhythm & Bluesâ, but as a novice might discern, that which is called R&B bears little resemblance to the musical landscape created by Ruth Brown, Louis Jordan, Laverne Baker, Charles Brown and the Coasters. And perhaps that was the point. Musical innovations aside, R&B was essentially a marketing ploy that finally gained a significant foothold during the late 1970s. R&B was born out of competing logicsâ"record companies tried to negotiate the realities of black culture and identity within the history of race relations in America while trying at the same time to reach a wider audience of black consumers and white record buy ers. As black radio needed mainstream advertisers to court the emerging black middle class (as much an ideology as a measurement of economic and social status) and mainstream record labels became fixated on crossing over black artists to white consumers, terms like Soul and Rhythm and Blues quickly became too black. The same terminology turnover occurred during the late 1970s when urban began to stand for radio stations that essentially programmed black music. As Nelson George explains, âUrban was supposedly a multicolored programming style tuned to the rhythms of Americaâs crossfertilized big citiesâ¦. But more often, urban was black radio in disguise.â (The Death of Rhythm and Blues, 159).
In 1972, when the study was conducted, CBS Records had only two acts they felt could effectively penetrate the black market: Sly Stone and Santana. "The following recommendations were suggested to correct this: purchase already developed talent rosters from companies like Philadelphia International Records, Stax Records; revive and re-establish proven talents (Isley Brothers, O'Jays, Lou Rawls); take breaking groups and break them bigger (Earth Wind and Fire, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes); buy into breaking trends (Jazz Fusion through Miles Davis and his 'alumni': Weather Report, Headhunters, Mahavishnu Orchestra), and perpetuate success, Michael Jackson." Westbrooks.
The results of the study were quite striking. For instance, CBS Records developed a black Music Marketing Division that was copied throughout the industry by every major record company doing business in black music. CBS increased its artist roster from two progressive black-oriented acts in 1972, to one hundred and twenty-five in 1980 - the largest roster of black artists in the industry.
Michael Jackson broke all previous sales records with his album "Thriller," anticipating another big one with his next album, "Bad." At that time he was the number one music artist/entertainer in the world. The bittersweet side of this, it institutionalized black popular music, but it caused other forms of music: blues, jazz and folk music to suffer virtual elimination on most radio play lists and concert bills.source http://www.streetroachpics.com/4811/4811.html
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