Best Review - Top 3 Compressed Glimpse at Music Business Growth


n the 1800s, sheet music dominated the music business. The term sheet music originally referred to musical notations written or printed on paper or parchment. It now also refers to music presented on the computer screen. The term is used to differentiate between the written form of music and the audio presentation.

In the 1900s, the phonographic industry gained dominance over sheet music. The record industry had been born. This quickly replaced sheet music publishing as the music industries largest income producer. By the end of the first world war, records had surpassed sheet music as the biggest player in the music business. From this point, the music business was dominated by the record industry. The economics of mass-production allowed the manufacturers to create album copies for a tiny fraction of their potential sales price. This, of course, led to allegations of price fixing.

Cries of inequitable treatment by the record industry led to the creation of the Recording Artists’ Coalition. This organization was created to represent the interests of the recording artists against the recording industry. These two industries developed an uneasy symbiotic/parasitic relationship with the invention of todays new technologies.

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Today, digital downloading appears to be replacing the record industry as the music business’s big money maker. This action has been met with resistance by the record industry. Much as the sheet music business was resistant to the phonograph industry, which was initially resistant to the radio and television industry.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart could, in a broad sense, be considered the father of today’s music business. Before him, composers and music printers relied on the support or the patronage of the church and the aristocracy. Musicians were mostly dependent on the generosity of this small, but influential and wealthy group. Mozart undoubtedly encountered the uncertainties of relying on this limited and closely related group. As was often the case, angering one aristocrat or church official could result in losing your livelihood.

Mozart came up with the idea to create commercial opportunities to market his musical performances to the general public. He also made a market for his music manuscripts. He knew there was money to be made from the masses instead of just relying on the few traditional sources available at the time. He saw an opportunity and had the foresight to act upon it.

After his death, his wife, a popular soprano, Constanze Weber, kept the process going. She remarried and the two of them continued commercializing Mozart’s music. They used, what was at the time, an unprecedented series of memorial concerts. They continued selling his manuscripts to the general public. They probably had the original version of “the best of” musical collection. Constanze and her husband, Georg Nissen even worked together to create the biography of Mozart.

Without his influence, the music business would eventually have been started, but it may have taken generations longer to get to where it is today.

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