A Different Billboard

Hartmann, et al, editors in chief. The Billboard, 1937-1970. Accessed through American Radio History.

Today’s Billboard magazine is known for its news on the music industry. Covers star the biggest artists and each issue has charts of the top songs, interviews, and reviews. But the old Billboard magazine, for the first 70 years of its existence was very different. Entire sections of the magazine were used to discuss vending machines, suppliers, manufacturers, and managers. There were conventions and news stories about the CEOs of vending machine companies being replaced and the latest automatic shoe shiners coming out. People that made billboards read Billboard to know how to get more billboards. All of these behind the scenes industries were booming and made interesting to the relevant individuals that read this magazine.

This is an interesting source because it shows how once an industry starts to grow, everyone starts jumping in and figuring and what relevant thing they can add to make money. There were many advertisements, protests, conventions, and inventions to read about for my paper.

The types of machines reviewed and promoted in old issues of The Billboard reflect what items were important to people of that time. I can compare opinions about these topics from then to now and discuss what has magnified or almost completely disappeared.


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