The evolution of the music profession through 100 years

  • First Record Label

    First Record Label
    The first record label begins in 1899
  • Intro to the history of music

    Intro to the history of music
    For centuries, music has been used as a platform for entertainment. From ancient music such as flutes and harp pieces composed during the Shang dynasties, to pieces you're more familiar with such as Beethoven and Mozart during the 19th and 18th centuries. However, it wouldn't be until the 20th and 21st century that music would be looked at as a business.
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    1900's - 1910's (The Early Years)

    During this time period the most popular form of music was jazz. There were not many ways to receive income from music during this time unless you were part of the bands that would be playing large events, or in very expensive orchestras. Though not much comes from this decade, it did lay the ground work for musicians who would dominate their particular genres for many years; including Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone, and Louis Armstrong to name a few.
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    1920's (The Roaring 20's)

    In this era, due to high economic growth, music became a very big part of this time period, with big ban bringing energetic energy to people already very positive during this time, jazz now being a way for smaller artists with little recognition to be discovered like the musicians I listed earlier, and musicals being all the rage and bringing in a lot of income, music was slowly becoming more like how it is now it seemed it's popularity would only grow, until the great depression began.
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    1930's (The Great Depression)

    This unfortunate event would cause the deterioration of both people emotionally and physically with the death toll exceeding over 100,000. The music would reflect this gloomy time as the jazz would begin incorporating elements of blues, this was frequent with Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Frank Sinatra. However, a very pivotal moment in this time was the first Vinyl records being launched that allowed listeners to enjoy music at a lower price, since they wouldn't have the expenses for shows
  • 1931

    The first Vinyl records are manufactured by RCA Victor being able to play 10 minutes on each side.
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    1940's (Return Of The Positivity)

    With America being out of the Great Depression and now entering WW2, Americans would develop a more positive spirit which reflected in the music. With Broadway musicals becoming popular again, the blues jazz being more like soft love ballads, and Swing making people feel happy. Another important event in this time was the expansion of record labels which would become more important as music evolved.
  • 1939 - 1941 (End of the depression and the US joins WW2

    1939 - 1941 (End of the depression and the US joins WW2
    By the end of 1939, The United States had finally been able to get out of the Great Depression, and 2 years later would join WW2, this event would have very positive effects on music going forward.
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    1950's (Rock n Roll)

    After almost 4 decades of jazz and big band dominating music, eventually Rock n Roll would replace it as the most popular music genre in the 1950's with acts like Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Johnny B being some of the most popular. Rock n Roll came from Soul music and Blues, taking the fundamentals of those genres and giving them more energy. The most common way to get money from music at this time period were with poster advertisements and word of mouth.
  • The Vietnam War

    The Vietnam War
    Though the war started in the 50's, it began to gain traction in the mid 60's and 70's due to the amount of soldiers killed and the refusing of soldiers to go home unless of certain circumstances. This would be expressed through music in the 70's in funk and psychedelic rock hits that would become anti war songs.
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    1960's (The British Invasion)

    Meanwhile, outside of America, the UK had began having rock acts of their own, the most prolific of them all were The Beatles. The Beatles would soon become popular in the west due to international radio play. Continuing with the rise of Rock, Soul music would become big in this time with acts from Motown records such as Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Supremes, and the Four Tops by live television broadcasting .
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    1970's (No War, No Peace)

    In the 70's, Rock n Roll would begin to lose its notoriety, as Rock artists from the previous decade had shifted to Physcadelic Rock. The main genre of this time was Funk with artists like Zapp, Funkadelic, and even David Bowie. Though being two completely different forms of music they shared the similarity of bringing awareness to the Vietnam War with artists promoting large festivals to raise awareness, usually with a large line-up.
  • The Digital Age

    The Digital Age
    As the 1980's began the the world would become more technological with computers, television, and synth instruments.
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    1980's (Computer Love)

    The 1980's was a drastic change from the 1970's in multiple ways, from fashion, to culture, but most explicitly shown in music. With the rise of MTV and radio play being very important in pop culture, artists used these to expand their platforms. With pop being the new dominant genre with artists like Whitney Houston, Hall and Oates but most famously Michael Jackson. This era introduced different instruments for music creating music like drum machines and popularizing synthesizers.
  • The importance of Thriller

    The importance of Thriller
    In November of 1982, Michael Jackson released Thriller in which was a pivotal moment for the business side of Music. To this day in a feat that has yet to be replicated, Jackson's album 'Thriller' sold 66 Million copies, this feat would show the way how much money a artists could from one album alone, which furthered record companies to try to replicate a artist of that much longevity.
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    1990's (Poetry Slam)

    By the 90's the sound that the 80's began would become outdated as a new genre known as hip hop began to grow into the mainstream. With artists like Dr. Dre, 2Pac, and The Notorious B.I.G, the sound this genre curated would slowly become normal even within other genres. Even Soul music got a new resurgence as it had updated with a more Hip Hop sound with acts like TLC, En Vouge, and Tony! Toni! Toné!. With magazines like The Source, networks like BET, and the 'mixtape' hip hop would grow.
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    2000's (Y2K)

    As the 2000's began computers would once again update with the introduction of the internet which artists would use as marketing tactics starting in the mid 2000's with sites like YouTube and Myspace. Hip Hop was now dominant in music and continues to still be with artists like Eminem, 50 Cent, and Kanye West showing how Hip Hop could cross over into the same status as pop. Still, Pop would continue in status being second to rap, but with the next decade both of these genres would evolve.
  • Streaming Services

    Streaming Services
    In 2006 the streaming service of Spotify would begin, this service allowed listeners to enjoy music for free without having to pay for CD's. Other companies such as Itunes, Apple Music, and SoundCloud would continue this and now in modern day, the idea of paying for music sounds outdated.
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    2010's (The Internet Age)

    The 2010's fundamentally still used the same sites introduced in the 2000's but now more refined and normalized. With sites like Instagram and Tik Tok introduced in this decade, music promotion has become easy enough for Record Labels to become obsolete. The sound of this era in the mainstream however, had changed quite a bit, now with Rap and it's many sub genres being the most popular music on social media sites, and commercially has proven its stability with artists like Drake and Future.
  • 2020's - Present

    2020's - Present
    We are now in the 2020's and it seems as if as this decade continues social media and streaming services will only continue to be bigger, while Rap is still the biggest genre commercially, other music genres have received resurgences from social media apps like Tik Tok and YouTube. There's no telling what the next most popular genre will be, or even what's the next genre to be redefined but as of now. That is a short history of music and how it's changed through the century.