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Making Media WorkCultures of Management in the Entertainment Industries$
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Derek Johnson, Derek Kompare, and Avi Santo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814764695

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814764695.001.0001

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Record Men

Record Men

Talent Scouts in the U.S. Recording Industry, 1920–1935

(p.113) 5 Record Men
Making Media Work

Kyle Barnett

NYU Press

This chapter explores how early twentieth-century talent scouts, usually white middle-class men forced into this line of work, understood their roles in identifying and evaluating the appeals of musical artists from rural, poor, and non-white backgrounds. Talent scouts negotiated their own subject positions in relation to the talent they worked with and, in turn, perceptions of race and class shaped how these artists were then marketed to consumers. The chapter also addresses how decades later, these men understood and sought to express their legacy, as well as the methodological challenges media industry historians face in analyzing individuals' roles in relation to their current positions within the field of cultural production.

Keywords:   talent scouts, white middle-class men, non-white artists, rural artists, race, class, media industry, cultural production

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