The Corporate and Entrepreneurial Generations of Arts Trade Union Activists
This chapter looks at how a new generation of Nashville arts trade unionists is reinventing arts trade unionism for the contemporary generation of enterprising artists. With the advent of recorded music, corporate major labels, and mass distribution through radio airplay by the early 1950s, the chapter shows how Nashville AFM Local 257 had been transformed into a union representing both live and recording musicians and artists by a generation of arts trade union leaders who act as “corporate-era arts union activists.” Throughout the corporate era, Local 257 has developed and enforced master contracts with corporate signatories that apply especially to the major-label recording industry. The new generation of arts trade union leaders—the “entrepreneurial-era union activists”—are endeavoring to revitalize arts trade unionism as the Nashville music scene transitions from the corporate era of major labels into an era of indie entrepreneurial music production and distribution.
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