Music Industry

Just in time for Canadian Music Week, here’s the story of the most notorious music convention EVER!

[This was my column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]

Radio, record people, podcasters, performers, and everyone who works behind the scenes are in Toronto for the 42nd annual Canadian Music Week, June 2-8. It’s the largest gathering of music industry folk anywhere in the country.

Plenty of schmoozing, deal-making, networking, award-giving, and knowledge-gathering will happen over the next few days. CMW, as it’s known for short, is one of many such industry events that occur around the world. As a regular attendee, I can tell you that the conference and associated music festival are well-organized and orderly.

This, however, was not the case at the Americana Hotel in Miami Beach sixty-five years ago. Things were so wild at the Second Annual International Radio Programming and Disk Jockey Convention in May 1959 that Top 40 radio and rock ‘n’ roll were nearly broken forever.

The story of what happened in Miami Beach began a year earlier in Kansas City with The Pop Music Disc Jockey Convention and Radio Programming Seminar, the first such event. It attracted the biggest names in radio along with reps from a half-dozen or so record labels. One guest speaker was the rock-hating Mitch Miller of Columbia Records who saw this new rock ‘n’ roll thing as a scourge on culture, society, and especially the youth of America. He scolded the assembled group for playing this music and urged everyone to return to playing proper songs by artists such as Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne. He was a real downer.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38449 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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