Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay Book Summary - Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay Book explained in key points
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Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay summary

Simon Napier-Bell

The (Dodgy) Business of Popular Music

4.1 (18 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

In 'Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay', Simon Napier-Bell shares his journey as a music manager, his role in shaping pop culture, and the highs and lows of the industry. It's a window into the lives of music legends and an exploration of the power of music in society.

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    The modern music business took its first steps with the invention of copyright law and the record player.

    Music has been around in one form or another for millennia. And yet, in the grand scheme of things, it was only recently that songs began to be seen as individual, rather than common, property.

    This distinction emerged with the first copyright laws, which not only created a new branch of the legal system, but also a new publishing market for songs.

    It began in 1710 when the British court of law first recognized authors as having rights over what they wrote. Suddenly, authors now owned their work and got royalties from each sale.

    This led to the first music publishing house, Chappell & Co., which was founded in the early nineteenth century after the owner of a piano shop, Samuel Chappell, joined forces with the famous pianist Johann Baptist Cramer. Soon they were collecting, publishing and selling Cramer’s sheet music to the public.

    Naturally, it wasn’t long before others noticed that publishing sheet music was an easier and more profitable way for artists to make money than playing concerts. And the general public loved it because they could buy the sheet music, play the songs in their homes and hear music that they would never have access to otherwise.

    But the world of music publishing really exploded at the end of the nineteenth century, when an innovation known as the phonograph opened up the doors for a whole new revenue stream.

    In 1877, Thomas Edison produced the first commercial record player, making it possible for people to play recorded music in their homes.

    For publishing companies, this meant they could now turn their attention away from sheet music and to the much more profitable world of records.

    Sheet music could last years before it became worn down and tattered enough for a family to buy another copy, whereas a record would get played and replayed at such a rate that buying another one was practically inevitable.

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    What is Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay about?

    Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay (2014) takes its title from a late nineteenth-century vaudeville song and explores how the music industry has evolved and adapted to various changes and inventions that have continuously revolutionized what we listen to and how we listen to it.

    Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay Review

    Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay (2015) by Simon Napier-Bell is a fascinating exploration of the history of popular music and its role in shaping society. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • With in-depth research and a wealth of fascinating stories, it uncovers hidden narratives and sheds light on the cultural impact of music throughout history.
    • The book offers unique perspectives on well-known music events and personalities, challenging conventional wisdom and providing fresh insights.
    • Through vivid storytelling and engaging anecdotes, it brings music history to life, making the journey through the book an incredibly enjoyable and enriching experience.

    Best quote from Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay

    The court had created the music industry.

    —Simon Napier-Bell
    example alt text

    Who should read Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay?

    • Music geeks with tastes that cut across genres
    • Pop culture historians
    • Readers interested in the music industry

    About the Author

    Simon Napier-Bell has a long and storied career in the music industry as a producer, the manager of the Yardbirds and cowriter of Dusty Springfield’s hit, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” As an author, he’s also written the books Black Vinyl, White Powder and I’m Coming Down to Take You to Lunch.

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    Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay FAQs 

    What is the main message of Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay?

    The main message of Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay is a fascinating exploration of how popular music shaped society and vice versa.

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    Reading Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay is worth reading for its engaging storytelling and insightful analysis of the impact of music on society.

    Who is the author of Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay?

    The author of Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay is Simon Napier-Bell.

    What to read after Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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