In Record Cultures: The Transformation of the U.S. Recording Industry (University of Michigan Press, 2020), Kyle Barnett tells the story of the smaller U.S. record labels in the 1920s that created the genres later to be known as blues, country, and jazz.
Barnett also engages the early recording industry as entertainment media, considering the ways in which sound recording, radio, and film converge in the late 1920s. Record Cultures explores Gennett Records and jazz; race records, with a focus on the African American-owned Black Swan Records, as well as the white-owned Paramount Records; the origins of old-time music as a category that will become country; the growth of radio; the intersections of music and film; and the recording industry’s challenges in the wake of the Great Depression.
Kyle Barnett is Associate Professor of Media Studies in the Department of Communication at Bellarmine University.
Kimberly Mack holds a Ph.D. in English from UCLA, and she is an Assistant Professor of African-American literature at the University of Toledo in Ohio. Her book, Fictional Blues: Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White, is forthcoming from the University of Massachusetts Press in December 2020. Mack is also a music critic who has contributed her work to national and international publications, including Music Connection, Relix, Village Voice, PopMatters, and Hot Press. She published a 2019 essay for Longreads titled “Johnny Rotten, My Mom, and Me.”