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The Selling Sound: The Rise of the Country Music Industry and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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The Selling Sound: The Rise of the Country Music Industry (Refiguring American Music) Paperback – November 7, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Country music scholar Pecknold (co-editor of A Boy Named Sue: Gender and Country Music) delves into the beginnings of the business of the oft-scorned hillbilly music—as country was called before the early 1950s—and studies how it grew into a nationwide moneymaking force by the 1970s. She traces the industry's footing back to radio advertising of the 1920s and the broadcast barn dances of the early '30s, then on to the convergence of the business in its ultimate epicenter, Nashville, in the late '40s and early '50s. Fledgling associations, both of deejays and fan clubs, played a powerful force in driving the music business until the 1958 formation of the Country Music Association (CMA). Pecknold is quite adept when analyzing both novels and films depicting the music business; however, the narrative sometimes lags when she recounts insider details of fan clubs and the formation of the CMA. This is not for the pleasure reader looking for stories of country music personalities; it's a serious academic tome that will be of great interest to the student of the business and cultural context of country music. (Jan.)
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Review

The Selling Sound is the best book on country music that I have ever read. It is an important, valuable, and pleasurable book, likely to set the standard for years to come. Diane Pecknold brings the past alive, painting a rich picture of the cultures of consumption behind the stars and songs that comprise most historical studies of popular music.”—Aaron A. Fox, author of Real Country: Music and Language in Working-Class Culture


“A thorough and thoughtful historical account of how country music was ‘made to mean’ by fans, producers, and social critics. Diane Pecknold offers a definitive analysis of how the genre’s status and values are intimately connected to commercialism and ‘consumer democracy.’ A remarkable contribution to our understanding of how social class, cultural authority, and mass mediation shape the meanings of popular music.”—Joli Jensen, author of The Nashville Sound: Authenticity, Commercialization, and Country Music


“Any intelligent reader will enjoy The Selling Sound. Tackling an element of country music that few other writers have addressed, Diane Pecknold redefines the relationship between the ‘financial economy’ and ‘cultural economy.’”—David Sanjek, coauthor of Pennies from Heaven: The American Popular Music Business in the Twentieth Century


“I know of no other book in the realm of country music scholarship quite like this one, and I can think of few topics more deserving or neglected. Focusing on country music since it first emerged as a commercial entity in the 1920s, Diane Pecknold argues that commercialism itself has been a means of establishing the music’s legitimacy in the world of American popular entertainment. I applaud Pecknold’s originality and creativity. All country music scholars should embrace this book and its ideas.”—Bill C. Malone, author of Don’t Get above Your Raisin’: Country Music and the Southern Working Class

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Product Details

  • Series: Refiguring American Music
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (November 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822340801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822340805
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #877,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an essential book that deserves ten stars!

I've been studying and thinking and listening and playing and writing about music that can be called country for about forty years. Yet, when I had read a few chapters of this book, I wrote Diane Pecknold to tell her that I felt that I was uneducated and would remain uneducated until I finished reading and assimilating this book. It is simply not possible to feel educated about Country music and the American culture business itself without reading this book. There is almost nothing in this book about the music itself. Nevertheless, it discusses aspects of Country no one else has put together.

Pecknold studies the development of Country music as a business and how that has related to the concept of Country Music in American and world culture. In passing, this book gives a very good picture of the history of commercial radio, especially the programming of local radio stations. It also gives a major slice of the 20th Century history of the music publishing industry, particularly the wars between ASCAP and BMI.

Most importantly, the book provides a serious discussion of the images that Country and Hillbilly music have held in general cultural discussion in society and the relationship of those concepts to politics and the demography of this country. Given my particular interest in traditional music, I found her critical analysis of early folklorists' abhorrence of commercial music and the music industry to be useful and gratifying.

What also impressed me was the to-the-point, fact-oriented and clear language here. Often books written by academics aimed not only at a popular market but also at the academic disciplines can be overwhelmed by abstruse and incomprehensible academic rhetoric.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mikey/gainesboro on September 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Don't go into this book thinking it is going to be reader-friendly,it's not. In fact i venture to guess if i picked up a phone book it would be more exciting. this is more of a textbook,only not as interesting.
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