The Recording Industry in 20th Century Portugal

Coordinator
Salwa Castelo-Branco

Partnership

International Centre of Popular Music Studies, Newcastle University Institute of Contemporary History (UNL) Ministry of Culture


Grant

FCT
ref: PTDC/HAH/70991/2006


Abstract


This project will carry out a systematic study on the history of the recording industry in 20th century Portugal and its impact on the production, and dissemination of music and on the music product itself. Research will be carried out from a multidisciplinary perspective, combining theoretical and methodological approaches from ethnomusicology, popular music studies, history, cultural studies, anthropology, and historical musicology.

Taking into account cultural, economic and political developments in contemporary Portugal as well as the history of the international recording industry, this project will analyze: the trajectory of the major record companies; the phonogram as a product and the equipment associated with its (re)production within the framework of the electrification of the country and the market for electrical equipment; the demand for phonograms within the framework of the consumption of cultural goods and the increase in the buying power of the population; the technologies used and their impact on compositional processes, performance practice, music sound and audience behavior; the articulation between the recording industry, live performance, sheet music, and other mass media, especially radio, cinema, and television; the legal framework within which recordings were produced and commercialized; the impact of the recording industry on musical domains such as popular music, fado, pop-rock, folklore, and art music; the role of sound recordings in the dissemination of new musical domains in Portugal such as jazz and pop-rock; the articulation in record production between Portugal and its former colonies; the impact of sound recordings produced in Portugal on selected Portuguese emigrant communities and the ways in which these communities condition segments of music production; the role of sound recordings among selected immigrant communities; the role of publicity and graphic design in promoting recordings.

A multimedia data base will be developed as a repository of information and a research tool. It will include an exhaustive discography of commercial recordings of Portuguese music and musicians as well as of immigrant musicians, an inventory of record companies that operated in Portugal, and entries on recording artists, technicians, record producers, associations representing record companies, as well as other central agents in recording and commercializing phonograms.

The project will contribute with new knowledge on Portugal’s sound patrimony and one of its central cultural industries that is relevant both to the national and international scholarly communities, cultural agents, recording companies, record collectors as well as the general public. We also plan to convene an international colloquium where the results of the research will be discussed.




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