Sunday, March 10, 2019
Alan Freed and the Payola Scandal Essay
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, during a time of shifting cultural identity, m either Americans who held furtherton-down views found themselves caught in a socio-cultural predicament. The complaisant kinetic of urban communities had begun to intensify as more African-Americans moved from the Southern United States into the Northern and westward regions of the country. This diaspora meant better jobs and homes for African-Americans and ultimately translated into more spending power among this portion of the population. date m either sectors were positively squeezeed by this increase in African American spending power, participants of exclusionary dedicates were destined to suffer. An modeling of this suffering was evident in the music industry where the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) had monopolized the music licensing industry until the shine Music Incorporation was formed and began to provide affordable music licenses to those musicians an tecedently excluded by ASCAP.This development conductaled a changing of the guard and the ASCAP found that the permute was ultimately non in their favor (Hood-Ancklewicz 3). The individuals who offered and abetd the proliferation of this social revolution were labeled responsible for the change by reversaling lack of social stableness and would be contended with under the guise of a quest for morals and justice. In 1959 the House Subcommittee launched an investigation into the existence of rigging in fashionable biz shows and at the urging of ASCAP expanded that probe into the music industry.Given his nonconforming attitude, unapologetic support of rock n ringlet music, interracial bound parties and frenzied floor shows, Alan Freed became the most popular fatality of the payola indignation. Alan Freed was not the tho person guilty of accepting payola, but he was among the most visibly linked to the promulgation of rock n flap. Alan Freed has been credited with being the prime(prenominal) to popularize the title Rock nRoll in parity to this particular music genre.Additionally, he was the first to encourage integration by hosting wildly successful interracial Rock n Roll stage shows with solely African American performers. Freed also do no onset to control the pandemonium created by his exhilarating lineup of performers, which generally resulted in teens dancing in the aisles, screaming wildly at performers and storming venues for the opportunity to recruit by any means necessary. The firsts associated with Freed helped to solidify his image as the give of Rock n Roll and conversely sealed his fate as the scapegoat of the payola grunge.Mainly targeting piano tuner station and well known deejays and reputation executives, including Freed, the unmortgaged cut Dick Clark and, early(a)s linked to the popularization of rock n catalogue music. The payola investigations made radio executives across the nation nervous. legion(predicate) of th e stations began to enact measures to ensure that they would not be implicated in any wrong doing and as a result began to require that their phonograph record jockeys sign disclosure statements, divest themselves of questionable exterior interests and cooperate with investigators as necessary.Those disc jockeys that refused to do so were fired. Many deejays resigned some suggesting that payola was as much a part of the system as any former(a) widely held merchandise practice, while separates simply confessed to accepting cash and other gifts in change over for promoting records. Alan Freed refused to sign documents on the moral grounds that doing so would negatively impact his reputation for integrity as a result Freed was fired from the radio station (Segrave 110). Freed admitted that he had accepted valuable gifts but, he explained not in front.If Ive helped somebody, Ill accept a nice gift but I wouldnt take a dime to plug a record. Id be a fool to Id be giving up control o f my program (Segrave 80). The end of the payola scandal dawned with Alan Freed disenfranchised from his livelihood. Freed was forced out of the concert promotion business, blacklisted, arrested, fined three one C dollars and given a six month suspended sentence and though by modern standards this punishment may seem mild, compared to the punishment of other deejays it was among the most calculating and exacting punishments delivered.While some critics argue that the scandal did not end Freeds career it is clear that justice was not doled out equally among all offenders (Palmer 136). Dick Clark, who was also investigated, was questioned about outside interests that he held with various publication houses, record presses, talent firms, etc. Clark minify the lean of investments reported to the committee, his employers supported his claims that he had divested those interests. Following the investigation it was in condition(p) that the claims of divestment were not only false but t hat Clark had also deflated the number reported to the subcommittee.Clark was ultimately exonerated and never seemed to be in any real danger of losing his livelihood, while Alan Freed was left destitute (Segrave 110). By many accounts Freeds success in the music industry was instantaneous and was bolstered by the unwavering support of his interracial teen audience. In 1952 when Freed held the Moondog Coronation chunk an estimated 30,000 teens stormed the venue causing the event to be closed down by the local police department.Soon after this incident Freed took his stage shows on tour and was arrested and charged with inciting a riot after a correspondent occurrence in Boston. Freed moved from Ohio to New York where his success continue to grow exponentially (Palmer 23). Of note among Freeds perceived shortcomings was the fact that all of Freeds performers were African-American and even when sanitized versions of African-American songs were available Freed still pet and continu ed to promote the original versions (Palmer 136-139).The image of rock n cast of characters (leather jackets and sideburns) upset the sensibilities of larger society and as a result when the investigations into payola, a practice that had existed in various formats for years, became public knowledge and the House Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight had the support and the fuel necessary to effect change, Alan Freed became target number one. Rock n wheeling was shunned by the more buttoned-up personalities in American society and as a result was darned for many societal ills.Few expected the genre to last, disgusted by the lack of perceived merit in the rock n roll genre, many of the ASCAP members and conservative American public denied its staying power. In her1956 term for the Miami Herald, Phyllis Battelle quotes an unnamed source as saying Perhaps the only brilliant thing about rock n roll is that its so bad. It cannot endure indefinitely (Batelle 4C+). This sentiment com forted few Americans while others centre on the reasons why rock n roll was not a viable music form.Rock n roll on the other hand continued to reinvent itself, to forge and morph into different genres. The influence of rock n roll is heard clearly in other genres now and has become as intrinsic to the American cultural legacy as payola in the music industry. Though rock n roll waned for a short period of time it ultimately was revived by the British invasion which also revived the folk and R&B genres (Hood-Anklwicz 4).Ironically the integrationist mentality that was once a part of rock n roll music faded in the early sixties undoubtedly influenced by the newly sanitized radio and broadcast environment, the loss of magnetic personalities such as Alan Freed and the stress of the continuously changing cultural dynamic in American society. Fears kindred those expressed in segregationist propaganda like the American Nationalist went unfounded as rock n roll eventually became raciall y segregated once more.Dick Clarks clean cut presentation of rock n roll damaging the tilting pelvises and gyrations, minus the dancing in the aisles and frenzied pandemonium, minus the leather jackets and sideburns was to become the popular music among whites while African American performers performed for largely African-American audiences (Palmer, 146). Many African American performers of the rock n roll era deport credited Freed with the breaking of social barriers and have recognized his attempt to encourage integration among young Blacks and Whites.Before concluding that Alan Freed was ultimately made the example for being all things rock n roll, it is imperative to note that the practice of payola was never absent from the music industry, it has never been and is not now contraband. The 1960 law passed, did not make the practice illegal but made the failure to report payola illegal (Segrave,vii). While the concept of payola presents an ethical defacement in the system it is nonetheless a flaw that is as inhering to the music industry as is manipulation to the industry of politics.The great professor and historian, Lord Acton, is quoted as saying, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This whimsy is evident on both ends of the rock n roll spectrum on one end Alan Freed was said to be drunk with power (Palmer 23), so much so that he failed to see the danger in overbooking venues, was charged with encouraging riotous behavior among teens and a general failure to transact the detriment that would come to his livelihood if he continued to challenge the visit social norms of the 1950s.On the other end of the spectrum is the American government who continues to support censorship and participate in the creation of scapegoats when suitable to the larger governmental agenda. Overall, Alan Freed was a trendsetter who was perhaps before his time and thereby was punished consequently for going against the grain. He lived as the champion of rock n roll firsts and died tormented by opportunities unrealized.