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Pop Songs for the Tape Recorder, LPs for the Record Player? The Market Launch of Tape Recorders in West Germany and the Copyright Debate on Young Consumers’ Practice of Tape-recording in the 1950s and 1960s

  • »Hits für das Tonbandgerät, Alben für den Plattenspieler? Die Markteinführung des Tonbandgerätes in Westdeutschland und die Urheberrechtsdebatte über Musikaufnahmen jugendlicher Konsumenten in den 1950er und 1960er Jahren«. Since the late 1950s, tape recorders were increasingly to be found in West German households. This device for the first time gave the consumers the opportunity to record music from records or from the radio. This triggered off discussions between the record industry and the GEMA (Society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights) on the one hand and tape recorder producers and users on the other hand. Whereas the former complained about falling record sales and called for the introduction of copyright fees, the latter argued that the tape recorder offered a large range of applications and that therefore a collective charging of producers and/ or users would not be justified. Against the background of the changing legal situation, the article retraces the copyright debate and evaluates the opponents’ arguments. In spite of the manifold functions of the tape recorder, young consumers predominantly employed it to record their favourite light music. But these appropriation practices did not cause an overall decline in record sales but rather a change in music consumption patterns. While the possibility of recording single hits did in fact lead to falling sales figures of 45rpm-discs, sales of longplaying-records rose considerably

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Author:Monika Röther
Parent Title (English):Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung
Document Type:Journal Article
Date of Publication (online):2014/02/12
Date of first Publication:2008/01/01
Release Date:2014/02/12
Tag:1950s; 1960s; GEMA; Germany (West Germany); copyright; record player; records; tape recorder; youth
Issue:H. 3
First Page:301
Last Page:318
ZZF Chronological-Classification:1950er
ZZF Regional-Classification:Europa / Westeuropa / Deutschland / Bundesrepublik
ZZF Topic-Classification:Musik
Studies in Contemporary History: Materials:2/2011 Politik und Kultur des Klangs im 20. Jahrhundert 2/2011
Licence (German):License LogoMit freundlicher Genehmigung des jeweiligen Autors / Verlags für Online-Ausgabe der Zeitschrift Zeithistorische Forschungen