This chapter surveys the institutions and movements that brought together the city’s musical life with the aim of merging disparate styles, trends, and personnel. First comes the auto industry, based on archival sources from Ford and General Motors that show how the companies deployed music for worker morale and company promotion. The complementary work of labor follows, through the United Auto Workers’ songs. Next comes the counterculture’s musical moment in the age of the folk revival and the artist collectives of the 1950s–1960s. Motown offers a special case of African American entrepreneurial merging of musical talent and style. The chapter closes with a look at the media—radio and newspapers—with their influential role in bringing audiences together, through music, in a city known for segregation, oppressive policing, and occasional outbursts of violence.
Keywords: General Motors and Ford musical patronage, labor and music in Detroit, music and the counterculture, African American and white arts collectives, music and Detroit radio, music and newspaper coverage, Motown, Detroit’s recording industry
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