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The Phonographic Industry in Portugal in the 20th century

Funded by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, this project carried out a systematic study on the history of the recording industry in twentieth-century Portugal, and its impact on the production and dissemination of music, and on the music product itself.

Research was carried out from multidisciplinary perspectives, combining theoretical and methodological approaches from ethnomusicology, popular music studies, history, cultural studies, anthropology, and historical musicology. Taking into account cultural, economic and political developments in contemporary Portugal as well as the history of the international recording industry, this project analysed:

  • the trajectory of the major record companies;
  • the phonogram as a product and the equipment associated with its (re)production within the framework of the electrification of the country and the market for electrical equipment;
  • the demand for phonograms within the framework of the consumption of cultural goods and the increase in the buying power of the population;
  • the technologies used and their impact on compositional processes, performance practice, music sound and audience behaviour; the articulation between the recording industry, live performance, sheet music, and other mass media, especially radio, cinema, and television;
  • the legal framework within which recordings were produced and commercialised;
  • the impact of the recording industry on musical domains such as popular music, fado, pop-rock, folklore, and art music; the role of sound recordings in the dissemination of new musical domains in Portugal such as jazz and pop-rock;
  • the articulation in record production between Portugal and its former colonies;
  • the impact of sound recordings produced in Portugal on selected Portuguese emigrant communities and the ways in which these communities condition segments of music production;
  • the role of sound recordings among selected immigrant communities; the role of publicity and graphic design in promoting recordings

Key outputs

  • Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco (general editor), Enciclopédia da Música em Portugal no Século XX (Lisbon: Círculo de Leitores, 2010);
  • Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco & Jorge de Freitas Branco (eds.), Vozes do povo. A Folclorização em Portugal (Oeiras: Celta Editora, 2003);
  • Pedro Félix, Preservar o Património. Registos de Som (Lisbon: INATEL, 2000).

Staff from ICMuS

  • Ian Biddle
  • Richard Elliott (University of Sussex) and staff from INET (Instituto de Etnomusicologia, Universidade Nove de Lisboa)