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Written By: Jerry King and James Ownby

Black music – the blues, R&B, and the basis of Rock and Roll – provided the creative lifeblood of one of the wealthiest industries in the world. Most American popular music (including country) has its foundation in Black music – but the industry did not reward founders and they have not been justly rewarded.
The American musical community almost never discusses the disparity of airplay between independent music labels and major music labels on corporate broadcast radio. Nor does the community discuss a similar disparity in revenue distribution to Black music companies and music creators. We’re talking revenue in the billions – in music sales, royalties, commercials, movies, video games, sound design and music driven platforms. Do we hear Black music on the radio? Of course. Do we hear Black-owned music on the radio? Not so much. In the 1600’s – 1800’s, fear of revolt prompted slave owners and traders to prohibit African drumming, which they knew to be a communication tool. In modern times, fear of competition prompts music moguls to muzzle African-American music entrepreneurship — for fear of competition.
Modern technology offers new means of distributing content, but it does not remove the systemic barriers that inhibited such competition. From Swing, through BeBop, Rock and Roll right through the British Invasion, such systemic barriers have existed. And now, despite the available new Black-owned music out there, Americans remain stuck on the new form of “Memory Lane,” sardonically called “Jurassic FM.
However, a new wave does exist – a tsunami of shows and festivals of the new genre, “Southern Soul.” Fans are embracing this this underserved niche market. Those fans possess multi-billions in disposable income, and they like, listen to, and purchase music by the new and seasoned Southern Soul artists.Southern Soul artists draw in the thousands, and produce huge returns for concert promoters. Their new, energized music provides an alternative to fans who have grown tired of hearing the same old music. Those artists deserve movement toward the mainstream – but that has yet to occur.
The gatekeepers of the American and global music community have held back Black-owned music for far too long. The Black community deserves to profit from Black-owned Southern Soul music – a genre that remains one song away from mainstream success.
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