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Saying It With SongsPopular Music and the Coming of Sound to Hollywood Cinema$
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Katherine Spring

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199842216

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199842216.001.0001

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Owning a Song

Owning a Song

The Restructuring of Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley

(p.41) 2 Owning a Song
Saying It With Songs

Katherine Spring

Oxford University Press

Drawing on original archival research, Chapter 2 traces the convergence of the film and music industries from 1928 through early 1930, a period during which Hollywood's major studios acquired or affiliated with music publishing firms and hired songwriters from the East Coast. The studios' investments into the business of song publishing were motivated by factors that can be traced to the 1910s, when music publishing companies organized into two powerful combines—the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers and the Music Publishers Protective Association—with the intent of licensing the rights to perform copyrighted music. On the cusp of the conversion to sound, studio executives regarded song copyright ownership as a means of maintaining control over soundtrack content and freeing exhibitors from a theater-seat tax imposed by the music combines. Their investments effectively bifurcated the music industry into two hubs located on opposite coasts: New York and Los Angeles.

Keywords:   media convergence, film, popular music, Tin Pan Alley, Hollywood, ASCAP, MPPA

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