From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Race music" (the music industry code name for rhythm and blues) outlets and was rarely heard by mainstream white audiences. In 1951, Cleveland, Ohio disc jockey Alan Freed would begin playing this type of music for his white audience, and it is Freed who is credited with coining the phrase "rock and roll" to describe the rollicking R&B music that he brought to the airwaves.
Blues had become a part of American popular music in the 1920s, when classic female blues singers like Bessie Smith grew very popular. At the same time, record companies launched the field of race music, which was mostly blues targeted at African American audiences. The most famous of these acts went on to inspire much of the later popular development of the blues and blues-derived genres, including the legendary Robert Johnson.
- Black Swan Records was the first record label to be owned and operated by, and marketed to, African Americans
- Okeh Records
- Paramount Records
Further reading and listening
- Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891-1922 (2005) - Various Artists
- Stomp and Swerve: American Music Gets Hot, 1843-1924 (2003) - David Wondrich