Concerts from the Library of Congress

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2021 at 10:00 AM (ET)

Elisse La Barre, PhD

Elisse La Barre, PhD

Elisse La Barre


“‘Radio Enchains Music:’ The 1940 ASCAP Radio War and Music Festivals,” Elisse La Barre, PhD

In September 1940, a bitter conflict between American radio networks and songwriters was well underway, with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) pressing the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) for new licensing agreements. The result was a boycott of ASCAP members’ music on the radio, the creation of a rival organization, BMI—and  highly publicized, “protest” concerts presented by ASCAP at bicoastal world fairs in New York and San Francisco.

Drawing on recordings, reviews, photographs and sheet music held in the Library of Congress and the ASCAP Foundation Collection, this lecture argues that the 1940 ASCAP concert sheds new light on the issues of mass culture and radio, protest, race and gender at the reaffirmation of the American popular music canon in the final years before involvement in World War II.

his lecture is presented as part of the ongoing American Musicological Society lecture series at the Library of Congress.

All Fall events for the 2021-2022 season of Concerts from the Library of Congress will be presented virtually.
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