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Title:A Historical Geography of the Music Industry
Author(s):Graves, Steven M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jakle, John A.
Department / Program:Geography
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):American Studies
Abstract:Innovative moments in the history of Anglo-American popular music occur at roughly ten year intervals and generally have come from socio-economically disenfranchised groups residing at the geographic periphery of the popular music industry. Before the 1970s, the physical and cultural isolation of the musical culture groups in cities like Memphis and Liverpool helped them create a sound that was significantly different than that considered most marketable among industry officials in New York and London. Since the 1970s however, physical isolation has ceased to be a factor in the isolation of musical culture groups. Instead, closely held notions of place and space among musicians and industry officials have replicated in many respects the effect of physical isolation. In locales where musicians have long been ignored by the talent scouting apparatus of the music industry, there is less pressure to conform to nationally recognized standards for pop success. This sense of isolation from the mainstream allows artists begin experimenting with new sounds and musical techniques in order to please local audiences. Experimentation may eventually lead to the introduction of a musical innovation, real or perceived. In locales regularly graduating artists to the national marketplace, chances for musical innovation are less. The history of innovation waves in music are examined from the Stephen Foster era through the mid-1990s. Short case studies of musically innovative cites such as, Memphis, Liverpool and San Francisco are followed by a more in-depth examination of the Seattle 'scene' prior to the introduction of grunge rock in the early 1990s. In each instance, a critical physical distance or cognitive distance, between the corporate recording industry and the group of musicians residing in these cities preceded the introduction of their respective musical innovations. A second extensive case study of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois demonstrates that frequent interaction between musical communities and the recording industry may undermine the innovation process.
Issue Date:1999
Description:293 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1999.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9953031
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1999

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