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Music Press History

jeremy | Friday May 08, 2009

Categories: GCSE, Music, Other Topics, Music Press, Music Press History

Observations from AQA course on

The Music Press

History

1. Start at 1950’s

2. Include punk era of the 1970’s

3. Present day including web development

4. Don’t focus on facts, but generic developments, similarities and differences in content

5. Students could carry out a qualitative survey on audience likes, uses and gratifications

6. Focus on age, gender and ‘race’ to investigate consumption

‘The Music Press – A Brief History’

by Keith Langton

Melody Maker / New Musical Express – 1950s / 60s largely uncritical of musicians’ output – everything was always good! Content: mainly charts and singles, gig listings.

Changes in society in the 1960s with the arrival of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, drug culture of the 1960s – changed the nature of music and music writing.

Early 1970s – “Glam rock? – Sweet, Mud, T Rex and then “Prog. Rock? – David Bowie, ELP and Yes. Music papers still largely uncritical of groups until the Prog. Rock bands begin to spend too much money on staging, lighting and lasers, etc.

Mid 1970s – NME embraces punk – writers begin to move the paper away from simply music writing and start writing about “serious? issues such as politics, philosophy, etc. The “Music Press? becomes divided between Musicians’ papers such as Melody Maker (techniques, “proper music?) and Political papers such as NME (the meaning behind the bands and their songs).

Late 1970s - Early 1980s – readers are abandoning NME because it no longer writes about “normal? bands and is too obsessed with itself and its politics.

1978, Smash Hits launched to focus on “trivia? – favourite colours, food, pop-musicians’ lifestyles, etc. Aimed at a younger audience – polls, letters, surveys – keeps in touch with readership – what do they want? Lyrics, posters, free gifts on the covers…

Style in pop music becomes more important than content – make-up, clothes, the video, fashion and hair.

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