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Stage to Studio: Musicians and the Sound Revolution, 1890-1950 (Studies in Industry and Society) Hardcover – June 28, 1996

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Editorial Reviews


"Historians might not have answers to the questions of technology displacing and deskilling workers, but they can lay out the facts and be sympathetic to the victims. This Kraft has done. He writes clearly and without bias, [and] has an understanding of his subjects that comes from his own background as a musician." -- André Millard, American Historical Review

"In Stage to Studio, James Kraft presents a concise, well-researched, and well-written historical account of the actions and reactions of unionized musicians as they faced new technologies and changing conditions of labor in early twentieth-century America... an important contribution to the literature on organized workers in America." -- Emily Thompson, Technology and Culture

"Combining techniques from social history, labor history, and the history of technology, Kraft weaves together archival material, oral history data, and secondary sources to produce an accessible narrative and a rich analysis." -- Harris M. Berger, Antenna

About the Author

James P. Kraft is associate professor of history at the University of Hawaii.


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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Industry and Society
  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (June 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801850894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801850899
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,652,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By klavierspiel VINE VOICE on February 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
James Kraft, a historian at the University of Hawaii/Manoa, tackles a huge but underexplored topic: the impact of the major technological innovations of the early twentieth century on the livelihood of the performing musicians. For those interested in the lives of musical stars, whether in the classical or popular fields, this book will be disappointing. Kraft regards music-making as very much a business: this is a history of the struggles of organized labor, in the form of the American Federation of Musicians, to maintain job security and incomes for their rank-and-file members in the face of two revolutions that changed the business of supplying music to the masses forever. The first was the advent of sound movies, which in a very few years wiped out the livelihoods of thousands upon thousands of musicians who had performed live music for showings of silent films in moviehouses across the nation. The second was radio, which quickly proved a boon for the sound recording industry, further eroding the need for live performers.
STAGE TO STUDIO is an absorbing and carefully researched chronicle. As a performing musician I emerged from reading it more aware of just why it is that it is so difficult to make a living as a musician now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and grateful to Petrillo and other major players in the AFM who, against all odds, struggled to preserve work and benefits for the beleaguered members of their union.
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