Music Genres and Corporate Cultures explores the seemingly haphazard workings of the music industry, tracing the uneasy relationship between economics and culture; `entertainment corporations' and the artists they sign. Keith Negus examines the contrasting strategies of major labels like Sony and Polygram in managing different genres, artists and staff. How do takeovers affect the treatment of artists? Why has Polygram been perceived as too European to attract US artists? And how did Warner's wooden floors help them sign Green Day? Through in-depth case studies of three major genres; rap, country, and salsa, Negus explores the way in which the music industry recognises and rewards certain sounds, and how this influences both the creativity of musicians, and their audiences. He examines the tension between raps public image as the spontaneous `music of the streets' and the practicalities of the market, and asks why country labels and radio stations promote top-selling acts like Garth Brooks over hard-to-classify artists like Mary Chapin-Carpenter, and how the lack of soundscan systems in Puerto Rican record shops affects salsa music's position on the US Billboard chart. Drawing on over seventy interviews with music industry personnel in Britain and the United States, Music Genres and Corporate Cultures shows how the creation, circulation and consumption of popular music is shaped by record companies and corporate business styles while stressing that music production takes within a broader culture, not totally within the control of large corporations.
Keith Negus is a lecturer in the Centre for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leicester and lecturer at the University of Puerto Rico. He is the author of Producing Pop and Popular Music in Theory.