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Friday 2:00-3:00
Academic Papers 4 (Royal Salon D)
Alejandro Sánchez-Samper, Moderator

Corporate Opportunism at Its Best: How C.G. Conn’s Vision for Selling Musical Instruments in the Public Schools and the Conn National School of Music Contributed to a Lasting Musical Legacy in a Small Town in North Carolina

Kim L. Wangler
Director of Music Industry Studies
Appalachian State University

    We so often hear in the news of companies that devise ways to make money that have negative effects on a community. However, there are examples where clever, entrepreneurial-thinking individuals lead a company in a direction that has long lasting benefits to a community – or in some cases – many communities within the country and beyond. This research project looks at Carl Greenleaf’s development of the school music (instruments) market and his contributions to that process through the National School of Music run by the C.G. Conn company. This program was started in the late 1920s and continues to enhance the teaching of public school educators to this day.

    The effects of Greenleaf’s foresight can certainly be seen in many schools across the nation, but perhaps one of the most striking examples of the influence of his programs can be seen through the work of one individual in the small town of Lenoir, North Carolina.  Captain James C. Harper was drawn into a career as a band director after his service in WWI, but had very little background for a career in this field. With the training and support provided by C.G. Conn (and the Interlochen Arts Academy – supported in its inception and early years by Conn) Captain Harper was able to develop an extremely successful – and nationally recognized – band program in a small community in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains that engendered an unprecedented level of support and community pride that continues to this day – over fifty years since his retirement.

Cashing in on the Past: Nostalgia and the Commoditization of Memories

Shawn David Young
Assistant Professor of Music
Clayton State University

    When The Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, youth were unaware that they were taking part in a moment that would forever hold a sacred place in the minds of aging generations. Do young consumers continue to value specific moments such as this, or has technology robbed them of these magical moments, events largely unrepeatable?  Concerts that emphasize nostalgia relate to consumers and musicians who seek to relive the past through celebration and mimicry.  The act of selling an experience (specifically groups and concerts coded “classic”) meets a particular consumer need.  If we understand the viable relationships between classic reunion tours and tribute bands we can then see how monetizing the past may prove useful as the industry struggles to maintain consistent revenue streams within a model that, for the most part, peddles intangible goods.  The valorizing of the past may revive the power of tactical and visceral connections to “authentic” product.  Despite the twin giants of global Internet marketing and a democratized consumer base, there appears to be a way for the industry to capitalize on two areas, which may instantiate a paradigm that values tactile connections to product and imagined connections to the past: music that represents nostalgia and music that represents homage.

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