viernes, 30 de diciembre de 2011

TEEN-AGERS GOING FOR "MUSIC WITH A BEAT" AS INDUSTRY REAPS A FINANCIAL HARVEST

An article from Billboard (or Cash Box) from April 1954.

TEEN-AGERS GOING FOR "MUSIC WITH A BEAT" AS INDUSTRY REAPS A 
FINANCIAL HARVEST.

     New York, April 17- One of the fastest growing segments of the 
record business is the rhythm and blues field, a fact which the 
entire music trade is becoming increasingly aware of these days. Once 
limited in sales appeal to the relatively small Negro market, rhythm 
and blues has now blossomed, with disk sales last year (1953) 
reaching an all-time record of $15,000,000. And indications are that 
1954 sales will surpass even this mark.

     The music is also finding increasing favor among disc jockeys 
and juke box operators. More than 700 jocks across the country devote 
their air time exclusively to rhythm and blues platters. Many deejays 
who once restricted their programming only to popular records are 
following the change in listener tastes by including rhythm and blues 
selections with their regular pop offerings.

     To satisfy the growing demand for this material, over 75 
diskeries regularly release rhythm and blues recordings. Their 
combined production results in more than 1,000 rhythm and blues 
releases per year.

TEEN-AGE TIDE

     Teenagers are instigating the current tremd towards r & b, and 
are largely responsible for keeping the sales mounting. The teenage 
tide has swept down the old barriers which kept this music restricted 
to a segment of the population. Today's teenagers have not known the 
rhythmically exciting dance bands of the swing era. They therefore 
satisfy their hunger for "music with a beat" with recordings by Earl 
Bostic, Buddy Johnson, and Tiny Bradshaw bands, or uses the
rhythmically pronounced recordings of the Clovers, Ruth Brown and 
others, as its dance music.

      The expansion of this field has resulted in a number of 
companies who find it highly profitable to devote their exclusive 
production to r & b and spiritual recordings.

      Such companies as Atlantic-Cat, Apollo, Savoy, Peacock-Duke, 
Specialty, Modern-RPM, King-Federal, Aladdin, Chess-Checker, United-
States, Chance, Herald, Imperial and others emerge among the 
strongest independent labels of the entire record industry. IN 
addition to the highly successful firms which specialize in the r & b 
field are such comapnies as RCA Victor, Columbia, Decca, Mercury, Dot 
and others, which either themselves or thru their subsidiary labels 
issue many r & b records along with their regular record releases in 
other fields.

      Juke box operators are credited with being among the first to 
sense the teenagers swing to r & b. In noting the youngsters 
preference for this music, they continued to increase its supply on 
those jukeboxes which were exposed to teeenage traffic.

      This in turn fostered r & b popularity as reflected in requests 
to disc jockeys and at record stores. Dealers who heretofore didn't 
stcok r & b records were quick to pick up the ball and are now 
offering a healthy selection of r & b recordings.

      Some California juke ops say that machines located where young 
people congregate will show popular records taking a secondary 
position to r & b recordings. California distributors who specialize 
in r & b estimate that 35% of their sales volume comes directly from 
the juke box field.

      In New York it is no longer uncommon for a box in the average 
teenager hangout to have at least a few r & b records featuring Dinah 
Washington, Ruth Brown, The Clovers, Earl Bostic, Tiny Bradshaw, 
among others. In Miami boxes in taverns and milk bars in all 
neighborhoods sport r & b records in addition to pop releases.

WIDE APPEAL

      Operators in widely scattered sections of the country have 
found that many r & b records have a wide enough appeal to go into 
boxes in any area. Indicative of expansion of the rhythm and blues 
market is the large number of retail outlets which previously did not 
stock these platters, but have since found it necessary and extremely 
proffitable to do so.

       On the West coast, such classy retail outlets as Crawford's,
Martindales, and the Gramophone Shop in Beverly Hills now stock 
rhythm and blues and point to a successful sales volume with the 
line. In the main, these stores are only carrying the "hit items" 
altho they are continually adding to their inventory.

       Where it was previously necessary for a teenager to go out of 
his immediate shopping nighborhood to buy a rhythm and blues 
recording, it is now the neighborhoods that are adding to their 
coffersthru stocking r & b recordings. Significantly some 
established  r & b outlets are noticing a decline in their volume, 
apparently taken up by the "johnny come lately" who now stock rhythm 
and blues.

        Another sign that the popularity of rhythm and blues records 
is seen by the large number of record buyers of Mexican and Spanish 
descent who are avid devotees of the field. Music operators with 
routes in areas predominately populated by Latin Americans report 
that this group has long been staunch supporters of r & b music.

        A tremendous market exists in this Latin American field in an 
area that spreads thru West Texas, New Mewico, Arizona and 
California. Distribs in Dallas, Houston, El Paso and Los Angeles 
report that Latin Americans number among their largest buyers of 
rhythm and blues records. L-A disc jockey shows frequently play 
rhythm and blues, along with similarly operated retail outlets
that stock the line.

        There has been an upsurge in the number of broadcast hours r 
& b records are played in cities all over the country. In Los Angeles 
there are more r & b disc jockeys than there were a year ago, and the 
pop jockeys are spinning more r & b records. About 23 hours of r & b 
disks are played daily on eight Los Angeles stations. The same is 
true in Chicago and New York.

        In Chicago the increase in r & b records on the air is about 
20% over a year ago, and the increase is greater in New York. It is 
true that many pop deejays are only playing those r & b records that 
they have to play, hits such as "Gee" and "Crying In The Chapel" but 
a few years ago even these hits were not played. Where pop jockeys 
are not spinning r & b records, the need is being fulfilled by more r 
& B air time. Audiences today are estimated by many jocks to be to be 
20 to 30% White listeners, in both the big cities and the small
towns.

FREED'S EFFORTS INSTRUMENTAL

        The increasing importance of r & b records, and the growing 
appeal of many artists in the field are illustrated by some of the 
exceptionally successful dances and shows featuring r & b talent and 
produced by deejays in various sections of the country. Probably the 
most remarkable record is held by Alan (Moondog) Freed's "Coronation 
Ball" at the Cleveland Arena in March, 1952, which used all r & b 
talent, includings singers and bands, attracted 25,000 people, with 
thousands turned away. This is one of the largest crowds to attend
a dance since World War II. In July of 1952, a Freed dance at the 
Summit Beach Ballroom in Akron attracted over 3,000 people at $2 per 
person, with thousands turned away. In July, 1953, at the 
Freed "Rhythm and Blues Show" at the arena in Cleveland there were 
10,000 paid admissions at $3 top.

         Freed, with his manager Lew Platt, has staged a number of 
other dances and shows since then, with each attracting over 3,000 
people, and again with many thousands invariably turned away. Here 
again, according to Lew Platt, up to one third of the audience was 
composed of White teenagers, pointing out again the appeal of r & b 
artists among Whites as well as Negroes. 

         A check among r & b record firms and r & b distributors on 
the East and West Coast shows that they are now servicing pop 
stations and shows as well as r & b deejays with certain releases. 
They have found it a worthwhile policy to do so, since a pop jockey's 
spinning an r & b disk can help increase the sales tremendously. The 
Crows' recording of "Gee" on Rama Records, which is a hit both in the 
pop and r & b markets, added thousands of additional sales due to the 
spins given it by pop deejays.

         The appeal of r & b disks to more than just a limited market 
is also shown by the records made by pop artists of burgeoning r & b 
hits. The latest in the series are records made of "Such A Night," 
which was first released on Atlantic with Clyde McPhatter. Johnnie 
Ray, Bunny Paul and Jane Turzey made the tune after McPhatter's disk 
started to take off.

         This is merely the most recent case of covering an r & b 
record. The tradition goes back a number of years. However, in most 
cases the original record, the r & b disk, often sells more than the 
pop versions. This could be the case with "Such A Night" as well.

         As r & b artists grow in both experience and popularity, 
they usually have a chance to break thru as pop artists and increase 
both their earning power and their stature in the business. This is 
happening today with many artists as their records break thru into 
the pop field. The Earl Bostic Band, The Dominoes, The Orioles, Dinah 
Washington, Ruth Brown and others have managed to build up almost as 
strong an appeal in the pop market as they have in the r & b field. 
According to all indications, as the r & b marker continues to 
expand, this will happen with an increasing number of performers.

On April 10th Alan Freed announced plans for his first show in the 
East, to be held on May 1, 1954, at the Newark, NJ Armory. The show 
will feature the Clovers, Charles Brown, The Buddy Johnson Band, and 
the Harptones.*