Summit 2015, Austin TX
Monday & Tuesday, March 23-24, 2015

Session 10: Tuesday 11:30 IPO Room
Moderator: Ken Ashdown

David Maddox
Assistant Professor
Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, Belmont University

Rush Hicks
Assistant Professor
Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, Belmont University

Defending "Prop Me Up By The Jukebox (If I Die)", a Case Study of Copyright Infringement

From a “Boy Named Sue” to The “Gambler,” Country Music has had its share of colorful disputes. “Prop Me Up By the Jukebox (If I Die),” also known as Everett A. Ellis v. Joe Diffie, et al, 177 F. 3d 503 (1999), is a interesting example of how professional songwriters and a music publisher/record producer defended themselves in a copyright infringement case. This case is useful to instructors and students because it turned on the doctrines of independent creation, the “ordinary listener” test, and based on the cassette-tape songwriting sessions of the writers of “Prop Me Up.”

Paul S. Linden
Associate Professor & Sequence Head, Recording Industry Program
School of Mass Communication & Journalism
The University of Southern Mississippi

From Ethnic to Epic: Translating Race and Genre in the Music Business

The growth of rock ’n roll, reggae, rap and salsa demonstrates the semantic instability of “race” and “musical genre” as interpretive categories. Translation is employed as a methodological concept allowing for semantic analysis of musical forms as they pass through geographical, social and economic contexts. Because music conveys the same “discursive instability” attributed to race (Radano and Bohlman 2000), the use of translation to mark shifts in geographical, economic and semantic contexts may be evaluated positively or negatively. In most cases, it results in the creation of new and larger audiences. However, the issue of translating a musical genre from the context of its native community across corporate structures such as record labels or other mass distribution platforms reveals significant pitfalls in articulation. The study discovers systematic, hidden costs of mainstream success including the alienation of core fan bases as well as artists’ loss of both creative control and authorship. The careers of Elvis Presley and Bob Marley exemplify the movement of popular music forms into the American mainstream. These figures allow readers to mark semantic shifts of their respective genres as they migrate from provincial communities across corporate structures such as record labels and mass distribution platforms like radio and television.