This article by Alan Cross discusses the 1942 musician strike in America. The head of the American Federation of Musicians, James Petrillo, ordered all members to stop making any kind of music in response to a growing threat from new technology that was taking away musicians’ jobs. This strike lasted for two years, during which union members were forbidden to enter a recording studio until the question of royalties was worked out. The only new music Americans heard during that time was material important from Europe and acapella versions of songs because the strike action didn’t include singers. The strike had occurred because cinema with sound had wiped out the jobs of cinema piano players, radio stations were playing records instead of exclusively hiring musicians to perform live, and jukeboxes made recorded music available on-demand in bars and restaurants across the continent, threatening the viability of live gigs.
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