Music in the 1950s
Music in the 1950s
RadioBefore the rise of the internet (on demand music), radio was important in getting artists airplay, which then meant theyd be more likely to sell many records.TelevisionMusic videos, as we now know them, did not exist in the 50s.Records Albums & TapeThese were purchased directly by the audience and could be listened to on demand. The Compact Disk (CD) hadnt been invented them to people listened to music on Vinyls.
How did audiences consume music?
Emergence of RocknRollthis included artists such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry.Classic Popartists such as Frank Sinatra.Blues & JazzRay Charles, Nina Simone.Folk & Country MusicJohnny Cash
Which artists AND genres were popular?
Classic Pop music was popular because it provided familiar sounding music. There was more of an emphasis on the artists voice than there is nowadays.Artists like Chuck Berry made RocknRoll influential by incorporating things that werent popular before the 1950s, such as: electric guitars, guitar solos, showmanship, and a focus on teen life (which appeal to the youth.) RocknRoll was also considered to be quite rebellious and unconventional (Elvis Presley interpreted many African American songs) which again appealed to the youth.Blues artists focused more on upbeat, rather than melancholy, music.Rockabilly spawned from Country Music, where there was more of an emphasis on catchy beats, electric guitar, and acoustic bass.
Why were genres popular?
Especially within the youth, subcultures based around gang culture or greasers emerged in the 1950s. This led to rejection of authority, and therefore meant theyd prefer to listen to more unconventional styles of music, namely Rock n Roll.A lot of this rebellion came about due to the Beat Generation: this was the name given to a group of writers who emerged in the 1950s. Their style was based around innovation, nonconformity, and a more progressive stance on drugs and sexuality.The best selling single in the 1950s in the UK, Rock Around The Clock, sold 1.39m copies. The best selling single of all time in the UK, Candle In The Wind, has sold 4.91m copies.
Subcultures and trends
Music institutions in the 50s
During the mid 20th century, aspiring artists started small; they performed locally, hoping they would be discovered. They were seen busking and working in low end jobs to go to Hollywood/Tinsletown for their chance.In some ways, this does occur today. There are thousands of artists who are talented; they write, sing, produce but simply cant be discovered because record labels construct artists for guaranteed chart and financial success
How were new artists found and developed?
Musicians would also rely on radios playing their songs (airplay) as marketing for their music.Musicians had to market their image as well as their voice. This would be done by starring in their own movies, often featuring their current music. This is an example of cross media synergy; Elvis was a big advocate of this.When not making movies, rock stars would have their own teen-aimed television series such as American Bandstand. Musicians would continuously be on the road; to reach new audiences in different countries and regions.
How was music marketed (cross-media synergy)?
In theUnited Kingdomduring the 1950s and 1960s, the major record companies had so much power that independent labels struggled to become established. Several British producers and artists launched independent labels as outlets for their work and artists they liked, but the majority failed as commercial ventures or were swallowed up by the majorsIn the United States, independent labels and distributors often banded together to form organizations to promote trade and also to simply match up to the big labels
Mainstream vs Underground