Music Industry, an infinite Journey:
Part I – The Past

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 1958/2001 – The Modern day era

Bob Dylan

With this new musical background, Billboard magazine, which kept its relevance as time went by, continued to cleverly adjust in 1958 by creating the Hot 100.

We previously saw how clear the distinction was between the singer, the author and the composer. One man will drastically change this situation:  Bob Dylan brings to the light the concept of Singer-Songwriter in 1962.

An absolute revolution, finally we move from the singer to the artist. The  Beatles, the Rolling Stones and various others quickly flooded the market by following Dylan steps. Artists from the past generation like Elvis Presley end up being classified as Vocal Acts and see their artistic credibility suffer a huge backlash. From Beatles US explosion in 1964 until 1969, Elvis will manage to chart a mere one single out of 39 released inside the US Hot 100 Top 10, against 32 Top 10 hits from 1955 to 1963.

The whole market benefited from this map-changing era with physical format pacing at a solid level of sales with a total of 385 million albums sold in the US during year 1973. Infinite possibilities were created by Singer-Songwriter concept; this opened the door to every single person to create music while it was something restricted to the few majors’ elite consultants before. A large wave of new and diverse artists broke the main audience, never the music picture has been as creative as from 1965 to 1975 with the likes Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Neil Young, Marvin Gaye, Deep Purple, ABBA, Stevie Wonder and many more hitting the shelves.

During that period, the Compact Cassette, first released in 1964, continuously grow, reaching the status of biggest format by 1984. After early 70s explosion, the overall market stabilized, with musically speaking styles less and less consensual, revealing a more marked personality a la Disco, which didn’t had past glories universal appeal. With Media format getting pretty old, the beginning of the 80s was a difficult period. For the first time since 30 years, music market went down, going from 540 million albums sold in 1978 to 420 million in 1982.

3 thoughts on “Music Industry, an infinite Journey:
Part I – The Past”

  1. When someone is referred to as an actor, it usually means that they aren’t very successful. Hollywood has a different name for those who are. They call them stars; movie stars, TV stars, Broadway stars.

    They make their big budget studio pictures and often use the money to finance their art-house vanity projects that hardly anyone will ever see. No one complains when they return to formula, so long as their movies are entertaining.

    You talk about the distinction between the singer and the artist. If every musician is an artist, the term has zero meaning. Writing (or co-writing) his own songs doesn’t put Kevin Federline on the same artistic plane as Bob Dylan.

    I’m still reading and sometimes re-reading your oldest posts as I’m relatively new to your site. With your focus on sales, I’d like to see what you folks think constitues the difference between the artist and the star. Or between the star and the superstar. Maybe you’ve already addressed it and I haven’t gotten there yet.

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