The Organized Musicians (Part II), 16 U. Chi. L. Rev. 239 (1949)
Like many other unions, the AFM has long battled the threat of
technological unemployment. Like their brother-unionists, the
musicians have found that the man who has been displaced by a
machine can take little comfort from the orthodox economist's" assurance
that the long-run effect of all technological change must be the creation
of a better life in which his remote descendants may share. Consequently,
they have resisted this change as best they could.
This problem can best be understood if one significant characteristic
of the machine in the field of music be noted at the outset. In whatever
form, the machine has never eliminated or even altered the musician's
function. The machine does not make music-it merely provides a means
of preserving and giving wider dissemination to the music made by the
musician. That characteristic is significant in two respects. In the first
place, by providing a means of reproducing musical performances and
making wider dissemination of those performances possible, the machine
has created a greater demand for music and probably inspired a greater
number of people to become musicians without creating a correspondingly
greater demand for the services of musicians. Secondly, the machine is
still dependent on the musician for the original performance-a fact which
has at once served to dramatize the musician's plight and to aid him in
his struggle against mechanization.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Countryman, Vern, "The Organized Musicians (Part II)" (1949). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 4777.