Topic: Record Labels
On August 1, 1942, the American Federation of Musicians, at the instigation of union president James C. Petrillo, began a strike against the major American record companies because of disagreements over royalty payments. Beginning at midnight, July 31, 1942, no union musician could make commercial recordings for any commercial record company. That meant that a union musician was allowed to participate on radio programs and other kinds of musical entertainment, but not in a recording session. The 1942–1944 musicians' strike remains the longest strike in entertainment history.
The strike did not affect musicians performing on live radio shows, in concerts, or, after October 27, 1943, on special recordings made by the record companies for V-Discs for distribution to the armed forces fighting World War II, because V-Discs were not available to the general public. However, the union did frequently threaten to withdraw musicians from the radio networks to punish individual network affiliates who were deemed "unfair" for violating the union's policy on recording network shows for repeat broadcasts.
The strike had a major impact on the American musical scene. At the time, union bands dominated popular music; after the strike, and partly as a result of it, the big bands began to decline and vocalists began to dominate popular music.
- "1942–1944 Musicians' Strike" | 2022-07-04 | 63 Upvotes 23 Comments