History of your particular genre and explain why you choose to indulge in this particular genre. Think about what genre of music that you enjoy. VVrite a 2

History of your particular genre and explain why you choose to indulge in this particular genre. Think about what genre of music that you enjoy. VVrite a 2

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 Think about what genre of music that you enjoy. VVrite a 2 page 3ssay on the history of your particular genre and explain why you choose to indulge in this particular genre.

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How this genre effects your mood? Great messages in great songs and fun to dance too. Always puts me in a great mood.

  • Favorite artist? Lady Gaga
  • Is it a positive message in the song? Born this way has a positive message of inclusivity of all human beings. 
  • Please reference book chapter for uploaded as a word document – Media and Culture 4 Sound Recording and popular music.  MLA format, use Times New Roman or Arial 12 font size, double space.  

A photo of a book titled, Media and Culture by Richard Campbell, Christopher R.Martin, and Bettina Fabos. MEDIA & CULTURE

Mass Communication in a Digital Age

Twelfth Edition

· Richard Campbell

· Miami University

· Christopher R. Martin

· University of Northern Iowa

· Bettina Fabos

· University of Northern Iowa

The logo of Bedford/St. Martin's Macmillan Learning

CHAPTER 4Sound Recording and Popular Music

A photo of Chancellor Johnathan Bennett.

Artist Chance the Rapper shows off one of his signature “3” baseball caps at the 59th Grammy Awards.






IT WAS THE 2017 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, and a twenty-three-year-old rapper from Chicago, Chancellor Johnathan Bennett, walked out with awards for best new artist, best rap performance, and best rap album. Bennett is better known as Chance the Rapper and is a major music artist who emerged from a very untraditional path. As Billboard magazine put it, “Chance the Rapper Is One of the Hottest Acts in Music, Has a Top 10 Album and His Own Festival—All Without a Label or Physical Release.”

Other artists have paved the way for Chance’s business approach. In 2007, British alternative rock group Radiohead decided to sell its album In Rainbows on its website for whatever price fans wished to pay, including nothing at all. Adele, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna all record for independent labels, and Macklemore sells music under his own label. Chance the Rapper has gone one step further by not selling any music at all.

His recording career began with the mixtapes 10 Day (2012) and Acid Rap (2013), which he posted for free. Both mixtapes were critically praised, and he received offers from multiple music labels. Chance decided to make a business deal that would both earn him some money and help promote his next release, Coloring Book (2016). Rather than sign with a label, he agreed to a short-term contract with a streaming service. Apple Music got exclusive streaming rights to Coloring Book for two weeks, a deal that Chance later disclosed was worth $500,000.
 The Apple Music connection gave his work an even greater audience. His album became the first to debut on the Billboard 200 chart (at No. 8) based on only the number of streams.
 “I think artist[s] can gain a lot from the streaming wars as long as they remain in control of their own product,” Chance said.
 All of his recordings remain available for free streaming on SoundCloud (

Why does Chance the Rapper remain independent and refuse to sell recordings? He sat down with journalist Katie Couric at Harold’s Chicken Shack on the South Side of Chicago (one of his favorite restaurants) in 2017 to explain his approach to his career. When Couric asked him if he had ever considered signing with a record label, Chance replied, “I get to choose how much my music costs. I get to choose when my music gets released. I choose when I go on tour, who I work with, what movies I work with.”

Instead, Chance makes his money selling merchandise and concert tickets on his website 
. Among Chance’s merchandise is his ubiquitous “3” baseball cap. Chance used to exclusively wear Chicago White Sox baseball caps, but when he and the team could not reach a deal for the publicity, he made his own trademark “3” cap to mark the release of his third album. In addition to merchandise and ticket sales, and revenue-generating streams on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube, Chance and his manager have put together other deals, such as sponsorship from Bud Light and Citibank for his sold-out 2016 Magnificent Coloring Day music festival at the White Sox’s Cellular One Field.

“My dad taught me to work hard, and my mom taught me to work for myself,” Chance told Couric. “And so now I work for myself really hard.”

The rise of independent labels is one of the most significant developments in the music industry in the past two decades. The old route to success for musical artists was highly dependent on signing with a major label, which handled all the promotion to sell records. Now, with so many distribution forms for music—traditional CDs and vinyl; digital downloads and streaming; social media; music licensed for use in advertising, television, and film; and (of course) live, in-person concerts—there are multiple paths for talented artists to find an audience with an independent label or on their own.

THE MEDIUM OF SOUND RECORDING has had an immense impact on our culture. The music that helps shape our identities and comforts us during the transition from childhood to adulthood resonates throughout our lives. In the course of its history, popular music has also been banned by parents, school officials, and even governments under the guise of protecting young people from corrupting influences. As far back as the late eighteenth century, authorities in Europe, thinking that it was immoral for young people to dance close together, outlawed waltz music as “savagery.” Popular music from the jazz age to today has also added its own chapters to the age-old musical battle between generations.



Visit LaunchPad for Media & Culture and use LearningCurve to review concepts from this chapter.

In this chapter, we will place the impact of popular music in context and:

· Investigate the origins of recording’s technological “hardware,” from Thomas Edison’s early phonograph to Emile Berliner’s invention of the flat disk record and the development of audiotape, compact discs, and MP3s

· Study radio’s early threat to sound recording and the subsequent alliance between the two media when television arrived in the 1950s

· Explore the impact of the Internet on music, including the effects of online piracy and how the industry is adapting to the era of convergence with new models for distributing and promoting music, moving from downloads to streaming

· Examine the content and culture of the music industry, focusing on the predominant role of rock music and its extraordinary impact on mass media forms and a diverse array of cultures, both American and international

· Explore the economic and democratic issues facing the recording industry

As you consider these topics, think about your own relationship with popular music and sound recordings. Who was your first favorite group or singer? How old were you, and what was important to you about this music? How has the way you listen to music changed in the past five years? For more questions to help you think through the role of music in our lives, see “
Questioning the Media
” in the Chapter Review.


aNew mass media have often been defined in terms of the communication technologies that preceded them. For example, movies were initially called motion pictures, a term that derived from photography; radio was known as wireless telegraphy, referring to telegraphs; and television was often called picture radio. Likewise, sound recording instruments were initially described as talking machines and later as phonographs, drawing on names of existing inventions, the telephone and the telegraph. This early blending of technology foreshadowed our contemporary era, in which media as diverse as newspapers and movies converge on the Internet. Long before the Internet, however, the first major media convergence involved the relationship between two industries: sound recording and radio.

From Cylinders to Disks: Sound Recording Becomes a Mass Medium

In the 1850s, French printer Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville conducted the first experiments with sound recording. Using a hog’s hair bristle as a needle, he tied one end to a thin membrane stretched over the narrow part of a funnel. When the inventor spoke into the funnel, the membrane vibrated and the free end of the bristle made grooves on a revolving cylinder coated with a thick liquid called lampblack. De Martinville noticed that different sounds made different trails in the lampblack, but he could not figure out how to play back the sound. His experiments, however, ushered in the development stage of sound recording as a mass medium. In 2008, audio researchers using high-resolution scans of the recordings and a digital stylus were finally able to play back some of de Martinville’s recordings for the first time.7

In 1877, Thomas Edison had success playing back sound. He recorded his voice by using a needle to press the sound waves onto tinfoil, which was wrapped around a metal cylinder about the size of a cardboard toilet-paper roll. After recording his voice, Edison played it back by repositioning the needle to retrace the grooves in the foil. The machine that played these cylinders became known as the phonograph, derived from the Greek terms for “sound” and “writing.”

A photo shows Thomas Edison sitting on a chair with his head resting on one hand. The table in front of him has an early phonograph.


In addition to inventing the phonograph, Edison (1847–1931) ran an industrial research lab that is credited with inventing the motion-picture camera, the first commercially successful lightbulb, and a system for distributing electricity.

Thomas Edison was more than an inventor—he was also able to envision the practical uses of his inventions and ways to market them. Moving sound recording into its entrepreneurial stage, Edison patented his phonograph in 1878 as a kind of answering machine. He thought the phonograph would be used as a “telephone repeater” that would “provide invaluable records, instead of being the recipient of momentary and fleeting communication.”8 Edison’s phonograph patent was specifically for a device that recorded and played back foil cylinders. Thanks to this narrow definition, in 1886 Chichester Bell (cousin of telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell) and Charles Sumner Tainter were able to further sound recording by patenting an improvement on the phonograph. Their sound recording device, known as the graphophone, played back more durable wax cylinders.9 Both Edison’s phonograph and Bell and Tainter’s graphophone had only marginal success as voice-recording office machines. Eventually, these inventors began to produce cylinders with prerecorded music, which proved to be more popular but difficult to mass-produce and not very durable for repeated plays.

Using ideas from Edison, Bell, and Tainter, Emile Berliner, a German engineer who had immigrated to America, developed a better machine that played round, flat disks, or records. Made of zinc and coated with beeswax, these records played on a turntable, which Berliner called a gramophone and patented in 1887. Berliner also developed a technique that enabled him to mass-produce his round records, bringing sound recording into its mass medium stage. Previously, using Edison’s cylinder, performers had to play or sing into the speaker for each separate recording. Berliner’s technique featured a master recording from which copies could be easily duplicated in mass quantities. In addition, Berliner’s records could be stamped with labels, allowing the music to be differentiated by title, performer, and songwriter. This led to the development of a “star system,” wherein fans could identify and choose their favorite artists across many records.

By the first decade of the twentieth century, record-playing phonographs were widely available for home use. In 1906, the Victor Talking Machine Company placed the hardware, or “guts,” of the record player inside a piece of furniture. These early record players, known as Victrolas, were mechanical and had to be primed with a crank handle. As more homes were wired for electricity, electric record players, first available in 1925, gradually replaced Victrolas, and the gramophone soon became an essential appliance in most American homes.

The appeal of recorded music was limited at first due to sound quality. The original wax records were replaced by shellac discs, but these records were very fragile and did not improve the sound quality much. By the 1930s, in part because of the advent of radio and in part because of the Great Depression, record and phonograph sales declined dramatically. In the early 1940s, shellac was needed for World War II munitions production, so the record industry turned to manufacturing polyvinyl plastic records instead. Vinyl records turned out to be more durable than shellac records and less noisy, paving the way for a renewed consumer desire to buy recorded music.

In 1948, CBS Records introduced the 33⅓-rpm (revolutions per minute) long-playing record (LP), with about twenty minutes of music on each side, creating a market for multisong albums and classical music. This was an improvement over the three to four minutes of music contained on the existing 78-rpm records. The next year, RCA developed a competing 45-rpm record that featured a quarter-size hole (best for jukeboxes), invigorating the sales of songs heard on jukeboxes throughout the country. Unfortunately, the two new record standards were not technically compatible, meaning the two types of records could not be played on each other’s machines. A five-year marketing battle ensued, but in 1953, CBS and RCA compromised. The LP became the standard for long-playing albums, the 45 became the standard for singles, and record players were designed to accommodate 45s, LPs, and, for a while, 78s.

From Phonographs to CDs: Analog Goes Digital

The inventions of the phonograph and the record were the key sound recording advancements until the advent of magnetic 
 and tape players in the 1940s. Magnetic-tape sound recording was first developed as early as 1929 and further refined in the 1930s, but it did not catch on right away because the first machines were bulky reel-to-reel devices, the amount of tape required to make a recording was unwieldy, and the tape itself broke or became damaged easily. However, owing largely to improvements made by German engineers, who developed plastic magnetic tape during World War II, audiotape eventually found its place.

Audiotape’s lightweight magnetized strands finally made possible sound editing and multiple-track mixing, in which instrumentals and vocals can be recorded at one location and later mixed onto a master recording in another studio. By the mid-1960s, engineers had placed miniaturized reel-to-reel audiotape inside small plastic cassettes and developed portable cassette players, permitting listeners to bring recorded music anywhere and creating a market for prerecorded cassettes. Audiotape also permitted “home dubbing”: Consumers could copy their favorite records onto tape or record songs from the radio.

Three pie charts show the revenues made by sale of digital sound in the U.S. in the years 1999, 2011, and 2017.



Data from: Recording Industry Association of America, Annual Year-End Statistics. Figures are rounded.

Note: The year 1999 is the year Napster arrived, and the peak year of industry revenue. In 2011, digital product revenue surpassed physical product revenue for the first time. Synchronization royalties are those from music being licensed for use in television, movies, and advertisements.

The advances in audiotape technology opened the door to the development of other technologies. Although it had been invented by engineer Alan Blumlein in 1931, 
—which permitted the recording of two separate channels, or tracks, of sound—was finally able to be put to commercial use in 1958, once audiotape became more accessible. Recording-studio engineers, using audiotape, could now record many instrumental or vocal tracks, which they “mixed down” to two stereo tracks. When played back through two loudspeakers, stereo creates a more natural sound distribution. By 1971, stereo sound had been advanced into quadraphonic, or four-track, sound, but that never caught on commercially.

The biggest recording advancement came in the 1970s, when electrical engineer Thomas Stockham made the first digital audio recordings on standard computer equipment. Although the digital recorder was invented in 1967, Stockham was the first to put it to practical use. In contrast to 
analog recording
, which captures the fluctuations of sound waves and stores those signals in a record’s grooves or a tape’s continuous stream of magnetized particles, 
digital recording
 translates sound waves into binary on-off pulses and stores that information as numerical code. When a digital recording is played back, a microprocessor translates those numerical codes back into sounds and sends them to loudspeakers. By the late 1970s, Sony and Philips were jointly working on a way to design a digitally recorded disc and player to take advantage of this new technology, which could be produced at a lower cost than either vinyl records or audiocassettes. As a result of their efforts, digitally recorded 
compact discs (CDs)
 hit the market in 1983.

By 1987, CD sales were double the amount of LP sales. By 2000, CDs rendered records and audiocassettes nearly obsolete, except for deejays and record enthusiasts who continued to play and collect vinyl LPs. In an effort to create new product lines and maintain consumer sales, the music industry promoted two advanced digital disc formats in the late 1990s, which it hoped would eventually replace standard CDs. However, the introduction of these formats was ill-timed for the industry, because the biggest development in music formatting was already on the horizon—the MP3.

Convergence: Sound Recording in the Internet Age

Music, perhaps more so than any other mass medium, is bound up in the social fabric of our lives. Ever since the introduction of the tape recorder and the heyday of homemade mixtapes, music has been something that we have shared eagerly with friends.



A video clip shows a young female singer singing in a recording studio. A play icon accompanies the clip.

Recording Music Today

Composer Scott Dugdale discusses technological innovations in music recording.


What surprised you the most about the way the video showed a song being produced, and why?

It is not surprising, then, that the Internet, a mass medium that links individuals and communities together like no other medium, became a hub for sharing music. In fact, the reason college student Shawn Fanning said he developed the groundbreaking file-sharing site Napster in 1999 was “to build communities around different types of music.”10 But this convergence with the Internet began to unravel the music industry in the 2000s. The changes within the industry were set in motion about two decades ago, with the proliferation of Internet use and the development of a new digital file format.

MP3s and File-Sharing

 file format, developed in 1992, enables digital recordings to be compressed into smaller, more manageable files. With the increasing popularity of the Internet in the mid-1990s, computer users began swapping MP3 music files online because they could be uploaded or downloaded in a fraction of the time it took to exchange noncompressed music files.

By 1999, the year Napster’s infamous free file-sharing service brought the MP3 format to popular attention, music files were widely available on the Internet—some for sale, some legally available for free downloading, and many for trading in possible violation of copyright laws. Despite the higher quality of industry-manufactured CDs, music fans enjoyed the convenience of downloading MP3 files. Losing countless music sales to illegal downloading, the music industry fought the proliferation of the MP3 format with an array of lawsuits (aimed at file-sharing companies and at individual downloaders), but the popularity of MP3s continued to increase.

In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the music industry and against Napster, declaring free music file-swapping illegal and in violation of music copyrights held by recording labels and artists. It was relatively easy for the music industry to shut down Napster (which later relaunched as a legal service) because it required users to log into a centralized system. However, the music industry’s elimination of file-sharing was not complete, as decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) systems, such as Grokster, LimeWire, Morpheus, Kazaa, eDonkey, eMule, and BitTorrent, once again enabled free music file-sharing.

The recording industry fought back with thousands of lawsuits, many of them successful. By 2010, Grokster, eDonkey, Morpheus, and LimeWire had been shut down, while Kazaa settled a lawsuit with the music industry and became a legal service.11 By 2011, several major Internet service providers, including AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, had agreed to help the music industry identify customers who may have been illegally downloading music and try to prevent them from doing so by sending them “copyright alert” warning letters, redirecting them to web pages about digital piracy, and ultimately slowing download speeds or closing their broadband accounts.

A photo shows a man wearing wireless earbuds.

SMART WIRELESS EARBUDS are the latest gadget trend in digital listening. The tech world has been trying out a few different names for these devices, including “hearables,” “smart headphones,” and “earputers.” The devices are increasingly powerful, and as tech companies figure out how to untether them from smartphones and computers, they will eventually be tiny stand-alone computers made for our ears. Apple’s AirPods and Google’s Pixel Buds are the two leading earbuds: They come with touch controls and custom wireless chips for pairing, and they connect directly with voice-recognition personal assistants. This listener is wearing wireless earbuds by Chyu.

As it cracked down on digital theft, the music industry—realizing that it would have to somehow adapt its business to the digital format—embraced services like iTunes (launched by Apple in 2003 to accompany the iPod), which had become the model for legal online distribution. In 2008, iTunes became the top music retailer in the United States. But by the time iTunes surpassed the twenty-five-billion-song milestone in 2013, global digital download sales had fallen for the first time.12 What happened? The next big digital format had arrived.

The Next Big Thing: Streaming Music

If the history of recorded music tells us anything, it is that tastes change and formats change over time. Today, streaming music is quickly becoming the format of choice. In the language of the music industry, we are shifting from ownership of music to access to music.13 The access model has been driven by the availability of streaming services such as the Sweden-based Spotify, which made its debut in the United States in 2011 and hit seventy-one million worldwide subscribers in 2018. Other services include Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, and SoundCloud. With these services, listeners can pay a subscription fee (typically $5 to $10 per month) and instantly play millions of songs on demand via the Internet. YouTube and Vevo also supply ad-supported music streaming, and have wide international use.

A screenshot shows the song Birds Don’t Sing by TV Girl. A photo accompanying the screenshot shows a man and a woman hugging.

STREAMING MUSIC SERVICES LIKE SPOTIFY (seen here) and Pandora provide users with more opportunity to fully customize their listening experience. Free accounts may include ads or limit a user’s selection, while a few dollars a month allow subscribers to search and stream any song.

The key difference between streaming music (like Spotify) and streaming radio (like Pandora) is that streaming music enables the listener to select any song on demand. Streaming radio enables the listener to pick a style of music but lacks the option of songs on demand. Yet the line is often blurred, even by streaming services. For example, at $10 per month, premium Spotify is ad-free and allows subscribers to access any song on demand and stream offline. However, the free version of Spotify is more like radio in that listeners do not have complete control over song selection.

The Rocky Relationship between Records and Radio

The recording industry and radio have always been closely linked. Although they work almost in unison now, they had a tumultuous relationship at the beginning. Radio’s very existence sparked the first battle. By 1915, the phonograph had become a popular form of entertainment. The recording industry sold thirty million records that year, and by the end of the decade, sales had more than tripled each year. In 1924, however, record sales dropped to only half of what they had been the previous year. Why? Because radio had arrived as a competing mass medium, providing free entertainment over the airwaves, independent of the recording industry.

The battle heated up when, to the alarm of the recording industry, radio stations began broadcasting recorded music without compensating the industry. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), founded in 1914 to collect copyright fees for music publishers and writers, charged that radio was contributing to plummeting sales of records and sheet music. By 1925, ASCAP had established fees for radio, charging stations between $250 and $2,500 a week for the right to play recorded music—and causing many stations to leave the air.

But other stations countered by establishing their own live, in-house orchestras, disseminating “free” music to listeners. This time, the recording industry could do nothing, as original radio music did not infringe on any copyrights. Throughout the late 1920s and 1930s, record and phonograph sales continued to fall, although the recording industry got a small boost when Prohibition ended in 1933 and record-playing jukeboxes became the standard musical entertainment in neighborhood taverns.

The recording and radio industries only began to cooperate wit

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