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The musk business: who pays the piper? The Texas OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co.. 1978 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher Vol. 70, No. 7 April 14, 1978 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Demo crat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR EDITOR AT LARGE Jim Hightower Lawrence Walsh Linda Rocawich Ronnie Dugger PRODUCTION MANAGERS: Susan Reid, Susan Lee ASSISTANT EDITORS: Colin Hunter, Teresa Acosta, Vicki Vaughan, Eric Hartman STAFF ASSISTANTS: Margaret Watson, Bob Sindermann, Debbie Wormser, Margot Beutler, Leah Miller, Connie Larson, David Guarino, Beth Epstein, Beverly Palmer, Harris Worcester, Gerald McLeod, Larry Zinn, Janie Leigh Frank CONTRIBUTORS: Kaye Northcott, Jo Clifton, Dave McNeely, Don Gardner, Warren Burnett, Rod Davis, Paul Sweeney, Marshall Breger, Jack Hopper, Stanley Walker, Joe Frantz, Ray Reece, Laura Eisenhour, Dan Hubig, Ben Sargent, Berke Breathed, Eje Wray, Luther Sperberg, Roy Hamric, Thomas D. Bleich, Mark Stinson, Ave Bonar, Jeff Danziger, Lois Rankin, Maury Maverick Jr., Bruce Cory, John Henry Faulk, Chandler Davidson, Molly Ivins, Ralph Yarborough, Laura Richardson, Tim Mahoney, John Spragens Jr. BUSINESS STAFF: Cliff Olofson, Alice Embree, Ricky Cruz A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them because this is a journal offree voices. Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year, in January and July; 25 issues per year. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Publication no. 541300. years, $30. Foreign, except APO/FPO, $1 additional per year. Airmail, hulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America. 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock, N.J. 07452. 7.430,'”if Editorial and Business Offices: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 By Mike Tolleson Austin Has everybody got Saturday night fever? It would seem so, if the phenomenal growth of the record and music industry is any guide. But as music lovers buy more records, tune in to more hours of radio, and drop in more frequently at concert halls and honky-tonks, few realize that their pastime has become very big business, a bonanza firmly under the control of a handful of record companies, radio chains, talent agents, and other middlemen. Between the performer and the music customer stands a growing army of corporate executives that, while adding enormously to the cost of music, siphons off a great chunk of profit and at the same time exercises undue influence over the availability of musical styles. The business of music is worth a close look. Total worldwide record and tape sales now exceed $7 billion annually, and observers who will venture to explain the boom say it is the result not only of the general spread of wealth and technology, but of an increase in the average age of record buyers on every continent.’ Predictably, the U.S. is the big music consumer. The American dollar is involved in 43 percent of ‘all global expenditures, but yen, marks, rubles and all kinds of other currencies help fuel the world’s music industry. In the U.S., music sales jumped prodigiously between 1973 and 1977from $2 billion to $3 billion. The biggest buyers turn out to be Texans. More money is spent on commercial music in the Lone Star State than in any other$200 million for records in 1977 and at least $25 million more for tickets to live performances. Texas is such a strong market not only because of its fast-growing population, but also because of the state’s many innovative radio stations and long driving times, which encourage radio listening and cassette tape use on the highway. In addition, Texas is culturally diverse, ranking prominently as a source of musical talent in all the popular genres, from rock ‘n’ roll and country-western to Chicano, soul and gospel. 2 Although Texas is seen as but a small part of the overall gross national profit picture by the record company-owning conglomerates based in New York and Los Angeles, and is largely sub 2 APRIL 14, 1978