December 31, 1932

These illustration were with an article by Paul Frederick about the overwhelming of Canadian made songs by American song writers. Until the 1920s, the music business was dominated not by major record labels, but by song publishers and big vaudeville and theater concerns. In those days, sheet music consistently outsold records of the same hit songs, proving that most of the music heard in homes and in public back then was played by people, not record players. A hit song’s sheet music often sold in the millions between 1910 and 1920. Recorded versions of these songs were at first just seen as a way to promote the sheet music, and were usually released only after sheet music sales began falling.1 With the decline of vaudeville and the rise of radio and records, big American hits could be produced more cheaply, and therefore became more popular than Canadian songs.

Gordon V. Thompson, Toronto song writer and publisher, keeps a piano back of his desk. He sings his chair around, strikes a few bars and bursts into song when the mood hits him
  1. History of the Record Industry, 1920— 1950s ↩︎