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The Social History of the MP3

In the broadest sense, mp3s filled a similar distribution function for the Internet era that the convergence of 45s, jukeboxes, and radio did in the 1940s and 50s. That earlier process was set into motion in 1939, when the ASCAP licensing organization failed to come to a royalty agreement with radio networks. As a result, radio executives banded together to form the rival BMI, and set about scouring the country for new talent. The hillbillies and juke-joint bluesmen they found were recorded in storefront studios using new and affordable means of putting music on tape, pressed on the cheap, sturdy discs RCA had just patented, and delivered around the country to fly-by-night radio stations and jukeboxes. Oh, and along the way, they invented rock’n’roll.

via Pitchfork.

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