The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music

Overview

The Sounds of Commerce is the first book to present a detailed historical analysis of popular music in American film, from the era of sheet music sales, to that of orchestrated pop records by Henry Mancini and Ennio Morricone in the 1960• to the MTV-ready pop songs that occupy soundtrack CDs of today. Jeff Smith's landmark exploration of film and music cross-promotion investigates the combination of historical, economic, and aesthetic factors that brought about the rise of popular music in the movies.Smith ...

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Overview

The Sounds of Commerce is the first book to present a detailed historical analysis of popular music in American film, from the era of sheet music sales, to that of orchestrated pop records by Henry Mancini and Ennio Morricone in the 1960• to the MTV-ready pop songs that occupy soundtrack CDs of today. Jeff Smith's landmark exploration of film and music cross-promotion investigates the combination of historical, economic, and aesthetic factors that brought about the rise of popular music in the movies.Smith employs a sophisticated yet accessible fusion of musicology, film theory, and social history. In one chapter, a musicological unpacking of the theme song from Goldfinger is used to show how the repeated refrain developed massive cultural appeal, leading to huge singles sales and a ubiquitous tune that most Americans can recognize several decades after the film's release. Other chapters look at how the film and music industries became so heavily intertwined, how soundtrack music progressed from orchestral score to pop song, and how certain soundtracks today become chart successes while their accompanying films generate scant box-office interest.Throughout the text, Smith persuasively argues that the popular film score has been as successful as its classical predecessor at enhancing emotions and moods, cueing characters and settings, and signifying psychological states and points of view. With The Sounds of Commerce, he challenges film music scholarship to recognize the significance of popular music in modern film.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice - R.D. Cohen
[A] fascinating exploration of Hollywood film music since the 1960s.
Choice - R. D. Cohen

[A] fascinating exploration of Hollywood film music since the 1960s.

Choice
[A] fascinating exploration of Hollywood film music since the 1960s.

— R. D. Cohen, Indiana University Northwest

Claudia Gorbman
Those who might wonder what 'magically´ led to the movie-theme rush around 1960 with such hits as Exodus, Never on Sunday, Zorba the Greek, and Breakfast at Tiffany's, and those seeking a lucid and comprehensive picture of what pop song compilations are doing in contemporary movies, need to read Jeff Smith´s The Sounds of Commerce. Casting a wide net and drawing it tight around industrial, economic, and stylistic considerations, this book combines smart thinking and impeccable research to serve up a rich feast of discoveries. Smith sets an altogether new paradigm for thinking about film music. His deceptively unassuming and readable work will inspire new ways of thinking in cultural studies, popular music studies, and film and film music studies.
R. D. Cohen
[A] fascinating exploration of Hollywood film music since the 1960s.
Rob Davis
The most appealing aspect of the book is the tremendous scope with which it views its subject. The work includes components pertaining to marketing, music theory, cultural studies, economics, technology, and industrial history. It is just the sort of book to inspire additional studies in this field, and it definitely sets a standard of excellence for future research.
Booknews
Explores the intersection of the movie and music industries in contemporary American life by tracing the development of the range and diversity of compositional practices in the pop score that emerged alongside the growth of the soundtrack album. Combining history and critical analysis, the author focuses on the works of Henry Mancini, John Barry, and Ennio Morricone, as well as the recent rise of the compilation album, and discusses the economic and social factors the govern the structural interactions between the film and music industries. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231108638
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/1998
  • Series: Film and Culture Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Smith has written articles for publications such as Cinema Journal and Velvet Light Trap.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Did They Mention the Music?Banking on Film MusicSharps, Flats, and Dollar SignsMy Huckleberry FriendThe Midas TouchEvery Gun Makes its Own TuneThe Sounds of CommercePretty Women and Dead Presidents

Columbia University Press

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