Overview of the recording industry in the U.S./Beginnings of recorded sound

  • Recommended: Reebee Garofalo, “From Music Publishing to MP3: Music and Industry in the Twentieth Century,”  Provides a succinct history of the music industry in the U.S.

9/6: No class, Labor Day

9/13: 1870s-1910s

  • Steve Albini, “The Problem with Music”
  • Millard, chapters 1-4

Recommended for further research: Lisa Gitelman, “Reading Music, Reading Records, Reading Race: Musical Copyright and the U.S. Copyright Act of 1909”

Listening Session: Early acoustic recordings, tin pan alley, and an overview of early recording technologies

9/20: 1920s and 1930s

  • Millard, 5-7
  • Ted Vincent, “The Community that Gave Jazz to Chicago”

Listening Session: 1920s and 1930s—“the jazz age” and early electrical recordings, crooners, swing

By this date, all students must have created a class blog, linked to our main course page

9/27:  Special topic: Louis Armstrong, Technology, and Jazz

9:15 sharp, meet at THE LOUIS ARMSTRONG ARCHIVES, Rosenthal Library. Entrance in the rotunda, on the left, outside the doors to the main entrance of the library.

  • Millard, 8-9, 13

Last day to sign up for presentation date with tentative topic.

10/4:  Special topic: Folk, Hillbilly, & “Race” music: Authenticity, Ethnomusicology, and the Politics of Collecting

  • Benjamin Filene, “’Our Singing Country’: John and Alan Lomax, Leadbelly, and the Construction of an American Past”
    • Louis M. Kyriakoudes, “The Grand Ole Opry and the Urban South”

Musical Analysis Assignment to be posted by classtime.

Listening Session: Lomax prison and field recordings, The Carter Family, Leadbelly, selections from The American Anthology of Folk Music, “Outsider” music.

10/11: No class, Columbus Day

10/18:  1940s

  • Millard, 10; also p. 285-295
  • Eric Porter, “’Dizzy Atmosphere’: The Challenge of Bebop”

Listening Session: 1930s-40s.  Big band swing, Bebop, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Soundies, Parker, Monk

Post a short paragraph outlining your research topic (note: this does not count as a blog-journal)


  • Millard, 11-12
  • Michael Coyle, “Hijacked Hits and Antic Authenticity: Cover Songs, Race, and Postwar Marketing”

Listening session: R&B, rock and roll, and rockabilly.

At least 3 substantive blog posts and 6 comments must be posted by 10/30 (in addition to your analysis assignment and topic idea). Posts that go up at the last minute or weeks after a topic is discussed will not have time to generate any real conversation, and thus will not receive full credit. Please plan ahead and give your classmates time to read and respond to your posts.

11/1: 1960s

  • Millard, p. 295-308 and chp. 16
  • Ian Inglis, “‘Some Kind of Wonderful’: The Creative Legacy of the Brill Building”
  • Jacqueline Warwick, excerpt from Girl Groups, Girl Culture

Listening session: More rock and roll, the “British Invasion,” girl groups, psychedelia.

11/8: 1970s I : Disco and “The Death of Rock”

  • Millard, p. 308-312 and chp. 15, 17
  • Richard Dyer, “In Defense of Disco”
  • Tim Lawrence, excerpt from Love Saves the Day

Research exercise due.

Listening Session: Progressive rock, disco, soul, sugary 8-track goodness.

11/15: 1970s II: Glam Rock, and Punk

  • Jon Savage, excerpt from England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond
  • Tricia Henry Young, excerpt from Break All Rules! Punk Rock and the Marking of a Style
  • Timothy Ferris, “David Bowie in America” / Simon Frith, “The Art of Posing”

Recommended for further research:

  • Dick Hebdige, excerpt from Subculture: The Meaning of Style

Listening Session: Roxy Music, David Bowie, T-Rex, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, The Ramones, Iggy and the Stooges, X-Ray Specs, The New York Dolls

11/22:  Special topic: The Evolution of Rap and Hip Hop

  • Tricia Rose, excerpts from Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America
  • Murray Forman, excerpts from The ‘Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop
  • Cynthia Fuchs, “‘I’m From Rags to Riches’: The Death of Jay-Z”
  • Gail Hilson Woldu, “Gender as Anomaly: Women in Rap”

Proposal due—bring 2 printed copies for peer feedback.

Listening Session: From Grandmaster Flash to Jay-Z.

11/29: Special Topic: Music Videos and the Evolution of Multimedia Cross-Marketing

  • Millard, chapter 18
  • Andrew Goodwin, “From Anarchy to Chromakey: Developments in Music Television”
  • Karen Collins, “Grand Theft Audio? Popular Music and Intellectual Property in Video Games”

Peer feedback due.

Listening Session: New Wave and 80s power pop

12/6: 1990s: “Alternative” Subcultures: “Indie Rock” and Diasporic Music

  • Ryan Hibbett, “What is Indie Rock?”
  • Gayle Wald, “Just a Girl? Rock Music, Feminism, and the Cultural Construction of Female Youth”
  • Josh Kun, “What Is an MC If He Can’t Rap to Banda? Making Music in Nuevo L.A.”
  • David Hesmondhalgh, “Post-Punk’s Attempt to Democratise the Music Industry”

Listening Session: Riot grrls, indie rock, & migrating musical styles, 1990s – present

OPTIONAL:  Bring rough drafts of final paper (or portions of rough drafts) for feedback.  If you peer-edit a draft for another student, you can receive extra credit.

12/13: 2000s: File-sharing, MP3s, Digital Distribution, and the Future of the Industry

  • Kembrew McLeod, “Confessions of an Intellectual (Property): Danger Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Sonny Bono, and My Long and Winding Path as a Copyright Activist-Academic”
  • Michael Bull, “Interpersonal Sound Strategies and iPod Culture”
  • Zac Locke, “How to Save the Recording Industry?: Charge Less”

Extra Credit essays due in class on 12/13. No extra credit assignments accepted after this date.

Research Papers due 12/20 at noon in my office (102-C in the G Building)

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