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The Merchant and the Muse: Commercial Influences on American Popular Music before the Civil War
James H. Stone
The Business History Review
Vol. 30, No. 1 (Mar., 1956), pp. 1-17
Published by: The President and Fellows of Harvard College
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3111502
Page Count: 17
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Musical aesthetics, Music composition, Music teachers, Publishing industry, Music criticism, Music publishing, Commercial music, Civil wars, Music, Composers
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In what ways and to what extent has business exerted an influence on cultural development? The question has had many answers. Most of these have dealt with the diversion of business wealth to specific cultural ends - the accumulation of great art collections, the importation of Italian villas, the subsidization of noted performers and craftsmen. Considerable attention has also been paid to the direct aesthetic contributions of businessmen who manufactured objects of art, or who were successful in imparting artistic attributes to objects of utility. The present article probes a more subtle but quite possibly more basic kind of business influence. Available evidence suggests that American musical tastes and talents were directly and forcefully molded by the commercial environment itself. Market characteristics of the music publishing trade, pricing policies, associationist activities, and other purely economic circumstances helped determine the nature of musical America. This case study involves a capsule in time and a small segment of the total culture, but its implications are broad and merit further investigation.
The Business History Review © 1956 The President and Fellows of Harvard College