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David Suisman
University of Delaware (Newark, DE 19716-0099)
The Commercial Revolution in American Music

This project explores the rise of music as big business in the United States and its signal contribution to the development of consumer capitalism in the twentieth century. Today it is a truism that music has become a commodity. If this is so, how and when did it become one? And what kind of commodity is it? This interdisciplinary study answers these questions by showing how music entrepreneurs restructured the production of music as an industrial process and transformed the consumption of music through complex, innovative marketing. It moves from music publishing to grand opera to "race" records and shows how the rise of the music business also left an enduring legacy in advertising and the legal interpretations of intellectual property.

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Project fields:
American Studies

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2007 – 5/31/2008