How did Major Record Companies take control of Black Music?(Part 3)

Groups and artists such as the Original Dixieland Jazz
Band; Paul Whiteman labeled the
King Of Jazz; Tommy Dorsey called the King Of Swing;
Elvis Presley promoted as the King
Of Rock n Roll; along with Pat Boone, The Rolling Stones,
The Beatles, The Osmonds,
Kenny G, Herb Alpert, David Sanborn, Jeff Lorber, Teena
Marie, Michael McDonald, are
only some of the White artists and groups, who in the past
or present, play(ed) black
White artists have been copying black music since the
Spirituals, during the time of
slavery. It was not until the 1970s that music by black
artists was accepted as a stable
financial endeavor. Evolving beyond the race records of the
1920s, and Rhythm & Blues
recordings of the 1950s, which were distributed mainly in
black communities. It was
around the time of the study that the record industry began
to make heavy financial
investments into black music: making more album
commitments, rather than singles,
promoting it to pop stations, investing more marketing
dollars and making stronger
efforts in international distribution.
Mr. Barnes concludes: So he said their key then, If we
cannot make black music without
black people, then we must have a way of controlling the
black music industry. One way
of doing this, with the use of the study, was to expose the
techniques in which a successful
black business, such as Stax Records, was operating. For
example, when Al Bell, owner of
Stax Records read the study, he revealed this about his
companys business operatives:

…the Harvard report was an excellent study of our
approach at Stax on operating a black
phonograph record company, in total…Prior to that study,
our business methodology was
unknown. So as a result of that, we had very little
competition. No one knew what we were
doing. We were able to build a business at our own pace.
Subsequent to revelations in that
study, the competition became much more intense.
Not only did the competition proliferate, CBS sued Stax in
order to stop the business
agreement between Al Bell and Clive Davis (who was later
fired from CBS). In effect, the
suit served to legally exhaust Stax, a common corporate
tactic used in battling an
opponent in court. As a result, Stax was not financially able
to compete with CBS in court,
and ultimately ceased doing business.
Bell tried to fight back: We filed an anti-trust suit against
CBS for $67,000,000, alleging
violation of the Sherman-Patton Anti-Trust Act. Bell said,
We alleged clandestine activities
on their part to try to stop it (the agreement). That’s a part of
the court records. So I
suppose that its fair to say, and I want to be really clear on
this, I suppose its fair to say
that some of the people, the executives in CBS, and
employed by CBS at the time, played a
very significant role in the demise of Stax.
Larkin Arnold, former Senior Vice President of Artist and
Repertoire Black Music – CBS
Records, and a long time veteran in the music business,
disagrees: I doubt anyone, any
corporation or any group of corporations made a concerted
effort to extinguish black
companies, black record companies. Its like any other
aspect of business life. If a major
corporation decides to enter into a market place, its only a
very, very strong smaller
company that can survive. Whether were talking about
mom and pop grocery stores, or
little gasoline stations. If Gulf comes in there, they’re going
for the market aggressively, in
which they should do. If you cant compete, you are going to
go by the wayside.
We may never know the full effect the demise of Stax
Records, the suit against Solar
Records, compounded with the purchase of Motown
Records, had on the development
of black music, or the desire to develop a full service black owned
record company. Some
things are evident, there still is not one black-owned full
service record company in
America (production, manufacturing, distribution). This
would take us from being
consumers to owners/investors, the root of financial power,
leading to political power.
The deeper effect may not be just the control of black
music, but control of the black
intellect and black culture. Since major record companies
captured control of black
music, especially the huge explosion of black youth music
(rap/hip hop) the proliferation
of profanity and sexism against black women has
enormously expanded. So-called
conscious or meaningful black music seems to have faded
in the background or garners
very little radio airplay. If there were no blues, jazz, reggae,
and a very small hand full of
conscious commercial black music artists in America, there
would be no substance or
uniqueness in black music at all.
If ever there is another research effort like the Harvard
study, let the black record labels
and radio station entrepreneurs get together with some
black colleges and develop not
only sound business practices and self defense in
business, but explore how the ancient
Afrikans in the Nile Valley built those great empires, and
use that as a template to do the
same. Strong black-owned institutions are needed for the
music the world is dancing to.
If not, good, solid, meaningful black music may sorrowfully
become a thing of the past.
Some feel that has already happened. The generations to
come may be left with the same
discussion many debate today, what happened to that
really good black music of the 60s
and 70s, or even the conscious rap of the 80s?
This is an excerpt from the book “Star Holocaust”.

8 thoughts on “How did Major Record Companies take control of Black Music?(Part 3)

    • I guess it’s just their nature. It’s almost lke their leeches. They suck all the talent and ability out of others for their own gain. Then they leave all these black entertainers penniless. Yet they deny that there is a monopoly in the How do they say this with a straight face??

  1. Prince, did you watch the movie Cadillac Records that was very telling how the owner of that record label treated his artist.

  2. even Michael Jackson blew the whistle on Tommy Motella and Sony records . He told how they cheat the black artist. I still say there was something very sinister in Michael’s death. All those white people killed him.

  3. Once white folks get their hands on our things it’s tainted. We used to own things then when the white man looked to turn a profit it is all turned to feces.

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