Louis Barfe's elegantly written, authoritative and highly entertaining history charts the meteoric rise and slow decline of the popular recording industry. In what is the only book to consider the development of the music business on both sides of the Atlantic, Barfe's journey starts with the first ever record to be played on a tin-foil cylinder phonograph and arrives in the present to meet an industry in disarray. He shows how the 1920s and 1930s saw the departure of Edison from the phonograph business he created and the birth of EMI and CBS. In this years after the war, these companies, and the buccaneers, entrepreneurs, hucksters, impresarios and con-men who ran them, reaped stupendous commercial benefits with the arrival of Elvis Presley, who changed popular music (and the sales of popular music) almost overnight. After Presley came the Beatles, when the recording industry became global and record sales reached all time highs.
Louis Barfe was born in 1973 in Epsom, Surrey. He studied at LancasterUniversity and, perhaps more fruitfully, 'Ear 'Ere Records, the local independent record shop. He has written for Private Eye, The Oldie, Publishing News, New Statesman and Crescendo and Jazz Music.