Risky Business: Rock in Film

This book began as an essay I wrote for a graduate seminar with Professor R. Serge Denisoff during my doctoral studies at Bowling Green State University. Denisoff pioneered American sociological study of the recording industry. Among his publications are Solid Gold: The Popular Music Industry (1975), Waylon: A Biography (1983), Tarnished Gold: The Record Industry Revisited (1986) and Inside MTV (1988). Denisoff recognized this study of the merger of the film and recording industries as an important industry trend inspired by the advent of MTV, and I became the "junior" author on what the publisher described as a major new book re-examining and extending Denisoff's pioneering examinations of the record industry and how it interacts with other media. Prior to Saturday Night Fever, rock music had a limited role in the motion picture business. That movie's success, and the success of its soundtrack, began to change things. But not until 1983, with Flashdance, did the situation drastically change; in 1984, ten soundtracks were certified platinum, many in the pop/rock genre. Clearly the marriage of movies with rock had reached maturity. Risky Business chronicles the interaction of two major mediums of mass culture in the twentieth century. Denisoff died in August 1994.

Endorsements and Reviews

"In their analyses of the cross-fertilization among media industries, Denisoff and Romanowski offer both original and significant contributions to the contemporary popular music literature. Their examinations--of the economics of production, marketing, and distribution--offer very useful insights into those hybrid mechanisms of late capitalism designed to eliminate all risk from the business of mass entertainment.
Journal of Communication

"A landmark study."
Journal of Popular Culture

"[Risky Business] is valuable in two ways. First, as a work of reference...Second, as a guidebook through the corridors of the culture industries, it traces the history of the ways the media have become totally integrated as industries, beginning from the halting first steps at accommodation in the late 1950s and maturing in the late 1970s in the 'synergy' (an industry term) by which the music, film, and eventually video divisions of entertainment corporations have subsequently fed off each other....a veritable treasure of information that will be indispensable for the foreseeable future."
Film Quarterly

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