The Music Trades is a 125-year-old American trade magazine that covers a broad spectrum of music and music commerce, domestically and abroad. The magazine was founded in New York City in 1890 and, since the mid-1970s, has been based in Englewood, New Jersey. The Music Trades is one of the longest-running, without interruption, trade publications in the world. The July 2016 issue — Vol. 164, No. 6 — is approximately the three thousand and thirty-ninth issue. A controlling ownership over the last 87 years — seventy percent of the publication's total age — has been held by three generations of the Majeski family, making it among the few current publications of any ilk that has been closely held by a single family for as long a period.


The Music Trades was founded in 1890 by John Christian Freund (1848–1924) and Milton Weil (1871–1935). Freund and Weil also, in 1898, founded Musical America, the oldest American magazine on classical music.[7]

John Christian Freund
Freund, who matriculated in 1868 at Exeter College, Oxford but left after three years without a degree, had first been a playwright and actor.[9] Freund emigrated to New York in 1871. In 1875, he founded The Music Trade Review, a fortnightly publication that he later renamed The Musical and Dramatic Times and Music Trade Review. The publication ran for about 2 years. In 1878, Freund founded the Musical Times, which soon changed to Musical and Dramatic Times. On January 7, 1882, Freund launched a weekly magazine, Music: A Review (Vol., No. 1),[3] which contained an insert called The Music Trade. Sometime on or before July 8, 1882, Freund changed the name to Music and Drama, supplemented by Freund's Daily Music and Drama. Music and Drama evolved into the weekly publication, The Music Trades.[9]
In 1884, Freund, with John Travis Quigg (1839–1893), founded The American Musician, which ran until 1891 and became the official publication of the National League of Musicians, the forerunner of the American Federation of Musicians.[10][13] Before founding the American Musician, Henry Cood Watson (1818–1875) began in 1864 the publication Watson's Art Journal, devoted to music criticism and trade. Watson died in 1875 and his Journal was taken over by his pupil, William M. Thoms, who improved it, renamed it American Art Journal, edited it until his retirement in 1906, then, upon his retirement, merged it with the American Musician.[15][17]
Around 1895, Freund's younger brother, Harry Edward Freund (1863–1950), was editor of Musical Weekly,[18][20] which continued as a weekly with a new name, beginning January 1896, as The Musical Age. The publication was aimed at piano dealers.
1927 sale by Milton Weil
Milton Weil (1871–1935) was married to the actress Henrietta Lander (née Rich; 1874–1935).[22] On June 13, 1927, three years after Freund died, Weil sold The Music Trades and Musical America to a newly formed syndicate that acquired four other publications and consolidated them into Trade Publications, Inc., headed by Walter Crawford Howey (1882–1954) as president, Verne Hardin Porter (1888–1942) as vice president and secretary, and Edwin John Rosencrans (1870–1935), as treasurer. The other publications were The American Architect, The Barbers' Journal, Beauty Culture, and Perfumers' Journal.[23]
Schluter & Company and Shields & Company were the investment bankers who handled the deal, which involved an issuance of $1,100,000 in preferred and common stock.[24] Howey, Porter, and Rosencrans were also directors of Trade Publications, Inc. The other directors were G. Murray Hulbert, John Zollikoffer Lowe, Jr. (1884–1951), and Joseph Urban. Shields & Company and Nixon & Company, of Philadelphia, also made s public offering of ten-year 6 12 percent gold bonds of Trade Publications, Inc., that carried warrants to purchase common stock at a price that closely corresponded with the value of the stock.[23]
Howey and Porter had been former executives of the Hearst Corporation.[24] Rosencrans was the managing editor of The American Architect. Years before the deal, Rosencrans, a civil engineer, had been partners with architect John F. Jackson (1867–1948). Their firm, Jackson & Rosencrans, designed over seventy YMCAs.[25][26] Lowe was a lawyer and onetime law partner in a firm with Samuel Seabury.
1929 bankruptcy
Walter Howey — who, before heading Trade Publications, had been the founding managing editor of the New York Daily Mirror — left Trade Publications to again become the managing editor of the Mirror on August 1, 1928.[27] Trade Publications, Inc., filed for bankruptcy in 1929. The Irving Trust Co. was appointed receiver for Trade Publications, Inc., which had liabilities of $716,839 and assets of $59,511. John Logan Lyttle (1879–1930), bankruptcy referee, sold at auction to John Majeski, Weil's former assistant, on July 19, 1929, four of the six magazines for $45,200: (i) Musical America, (ii) The Music Trades, (iii) The Barbers' Journal, and (iv) Beauty Culture. Of the $45,000 Majeski paid for the six publications, $11,000 of it was attributable to Musical America and The Music Trades, for which, three years earlier, around 1926–1927, he had offered a quarter of a million dollars, in a losing bid against Trade Publications, Inc. Majeski's acquisition included the publications' names, a collection of back issues, and a few months of office space in the Steinway Building.[29]
A few months before the bankruptcy auction on July 19, 1929, Weil was said to have sold all his interest in Trade Publications, Inc., for $200,000 in preferred stock. After he sold, he and his wife moved to Paris, where they were residing during the bankruptcy auction. The bankruptcy sale wiped-out Weil's stake built-up over a lifetime. Weil, at the time of the bankruptcy sale, was said to have only taken $5,000 with him to Paris. Weil's father, Jacob A. Weil (1835–1913), was a Paris-born American and his mother, Dina (née Lilienthal; born 1843), was a German-born American.
Double suicide of Milton and Henrietta Weil
Distraught over the loss of their fortune during the pre-Crash of 1929, then the Crash, and their subsequent inability to recover during the Great Depression – Milton and Henrietta Weil carried out a double suicide pact on May 22, 1935, leaving a note and taking veronal in their room of the Hotel Scribe in the Opera District of Paris. Henrietta died the next morning, May 23, 7:40 am at the American Hospital;[30] Milton died 23 hours and 25 minutes later, May 24, 7:05 am, at the same hospital. They are buried next to each other at the New Cemetery of Neuilly-sur-Seine.
Legacy of Freund and Weil
Freund and Weil were exponents of American classical music, despite the fact that Freund had only become a naturalized United States citizen on November 2, 1903. Their publications Musical America and The Music Trades complemented each other, and, in a unique sense, gave them a comprehensive and credible view of the growth of classical music in America and its international rank, as an art-form and in commerce. To the extent that both publications reached an international readership, Freund and Weil held sway as impresarios and movement leaders of American classical music. Their publications flourished during the early 1900s — on a new wave of American composers, including those of the Second New England School — joined by foreign composers that emigrated to America after 1880 in a flood of nearly 25 million Europeans. In commerce, 1875 to 1932 represented a golden age of piano making — nearly 364,545 were sold at the peak in 1909, according to the National Piano Manufacturers Association.[31] New York City, followed by Chicago, was the manufacturing leader of pianos during that age.
Freund and Weil's publications gave them broad access in the field of music. Notably, they served as bridges between the art and the money, connecting artists, organizations, commerce, and public policy. The spectrum that both publications collectively chronicled gave Freund and Weil a strong platform to serve as advocates, opinion leaders, conciliators, counselors, arbiters, and ambassadors for music and the music trades in America. As an example, Freund and Weil were influential in the founding of the National Music Managers Association (for national managers) and the National Concert Managers' Association (for local managers), aimed at improving cooperation between the two for the benefit of musicians.[33] Also, Freund and Weil were, in 1918, the founding president and secretary-treasurer, respectively, of the Musical Alliance of the United States,[35] an organization that endures today. At its founding, Freund had called for an alliance to organize "all workers in the field, from the man at the bench in a piano factory to the conductor of the great symphony."[36]
The Majeski years — 1910–present (one hundred and six years)
On July 19, 1929, John Francis Majeski, Sr. (1892–1971) — who in 1910 had joined the staff of Musical America, which at the time owned The Musical Trades — became the new owner of (i) The Music Trades, (ii) Musical America, (ii) Barbers Journal, and (iv) Beauty Culture.[38] On August 22, 1929, Majeski formed three holding companies: The Music Trades Corporation, The Musical America Corporation, and Beauty Culture Publishing Corporation — the third as holding company for Barbers Journal and Beauty Culture.
In 1959, Majeski sold Musical America — which later merged with High Fidelity in 1964 — but retained his interest in The Musical Trades, and served as its publisher until his death. At the time of his death, his son, John Francis Majeski, Jr. (1921–2011), was the magazine's editor.[39][40] John Majeski, Jr., was the magazine's editor until 1982 and its publisher until 1985.[29] In 2005, John Majeski, Jr., received the American Music Conference Lifetime Achievement Award for his achievements, contribution to music, and long tenure as editor of The Music Trades.[41][42]
Current ownership
The Music Trades has been controlled by the Majeski family for eighty-seven years (since July 19, 1929). Its holding company is The Music Trades Corporation, a New Jersey entity based in Englewood, which is controlled by the third-generation Majeski family — Paul Anton Majeski (born 1960), publisher since 1985, and Brian T. Majeski (born 1956), editor since 1982. Brian holds a bachelors degree in philosophy from Lawrence University (1978).

Selected editors & publishers

1890–1924John Christian Freund (1848–1924)
1924–1927Milton Weil (1871–1935) was editor through July 2, 1927
1946–1947Samuel Charles Klores (né Shlomo Chaskell Klores; 1913–1994)
1946–1951John Francis Majeski, Sr. (1892–1971)
1951–1982John Francis Majeski, Jr. (1921–2011)
1982–presentBrian T. Majeski (born 1956)
Managing editors
1917–1918Charles Barrett Bowne (1889–1952) was an alumnus of Brown University (1911), he went on to become a journalist with his hometown paper, the Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, then four years with the New York Evening Sun, then he enlisted in the U.S. Infantry as a 2nd Lieutenant from April 4, 1918, to November 20, 1918
1918–1919Charles Fulton Oursler (1893–1952) was the first managing editor who, in that position, had his name printed in the masthead — Vol. 56, No. 21, November 23, 1918
1919–19??After returning from World War I, Charles Barrett Bowne (1889–1952) became an editorial editor in 1926
1922–1924William Joseph Dougherty (1893–1951), formerly of the Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, left in 1917 to become city editor of the New Rochelle Pioneer, then joined the Music Trades staff in 1918 as news editor under Charles Barrett Bowne. He went on to become assistant managing editor, then managing editor (1922)
1924–1927Milton Weil (1871–1935) was managing editor through July 2, 1927
1922–192?William Joseph Dougherty (1893–1951)
1927–1928William Joseph Dougherty (1893–1951), again became managing editor with Vol. 74, No. 3, July 16, 1927; then in 1928, general manager (see "General manager" below)
1928–1929Arthur A. Kaye (1895–1967)
1929–1946Emil Raymond (1891–1946); beginning with Vol. 77, No. 17, December 1929, Raymond became managing editor
1930–193?Harry P. Knowles, beginning with Vol. 78, No. 7, July 1930, Knowles became managing editor
1930s–1943William Joseph Dougherty (1893–1951), after World War II, October 1945, Dougherty became associate editor of Music Trade Review, then editor of Musical Merchandise, one of several magazines founded by Glad Henderson (né Gladston Winchester Henderson; 1884–1942), then, beginning around 1949, advertising and sales promotion manager for Mastro Corp., founded by the French-born reed manufacturer Mario MacCaferri (1900–1993), then, beginning around 1950, executive editor of Music Dealer
2000–presentRichard T. Watson
General manager
1928–1928William Joseph Dougherty (1893–1951), after again serving as managing editor beginning with Vol. 74, No. 3, July 16, 1927, became general manager at the beginning of 1928, but left December 1928 to become editor of both The Soda Fountain the Music Trade Review, both owned by Federated Business Publications, Inc.[43][44] He left in 1932 to become general manager of The American Hairdresser, a monthly trade magazine founded in 1877
Associate editors
1947–1974Henry Clay Fischer (1900–1978)
1978–2007Grace Lila Frary (1934–2013), a graduate of Syracuse University School of Journalism, worked 31 years as an editor, joining in 1976, serving as associate editor sometime before 1978 until her retirement in 2007[45][46]
2007–presentSonia Clare Kanigel (born 1982)
Staff editors
1940sLouis Ernst (1871–1947)
1902–1942Morrison ("Squire") Swanwick (1865–1946) started at The Music Trades in 1902 as a reporter; from 1929 to 1942, when he retired, he was vice president and director
Correspondent editors
1918–19??Katharine M. Kelly (1892–1974) was from Poughkeepsie and a 1913 graduate of Vassar College. After working for The Music Trades, Kelly went on to work with Women's Wear Daily (editor), the Meriden Record, New Haven Register, The Fashionist (managing editor), Fashionable Dress (critic), Apparel World (editor), and Vogue (contributor). She married John Anthony Redegeld (1899–1996), a longtime senior executive with AT&T.
PresentBob Popyk (né Robert S. Popyk; born 1940) has published influential articles aimed at the business of music for musicians
1890–1924John Christian Freund (1848–1924)
The Music Trades Company
1924–1927Milton Weil (1871–1935)
The Music Trades Company
1927–1928Walter Crawford Howey (1882–1954), President
Trade Publications, Inc.
1928–1929Verne Hardin Porter (1888–1942), President
Trade Publications, Inc.
1929–1971John Francis Majeski, Sr. (1892–1971)
The Music Trades Corporation
(a New York corporation from 1929 to 1972)
1971–1985John Francis Majeski, Jr. (1921–2011)
The Music Trades Corporation
(a New Jersey corporation from 1972 to present)
1985–presentPaul Anton Majeski (born 1960)
The Music Trades Corporation
(a New Jersey corporation from 1972 to present)

Selected articles, quotes, and reviews

Articles and quotes

  • Vol. 21, No. 21, May 25, 1901: Responding to a 1901 campaign by the National Musicians Union against ragtime, [the campaign is] "rather quixotic. There are ears to which "rag-time" is more fascinating than grand opera, and ears of this sort are more numerous"
  • "Too Many Piano Factories in Chicago," by Philip J. Meahl (1865–1933), Vol. 23, No. 1, January 4, 1902, pg. 13: "There is some likelihood of the piano manufacturing business being overdone"
  • , by Bert Aaron Rose (1866–1940), Vol. 64, No. 26, December 23, 1922, pg. 32: The author, owner of the Metropolitan Music Co. in Minneapolis and director of bands at the University of Minnesota,[48] illuminates the threat of catalog sales, similar to early 21st-century concerns over online sales vs. physical stores
  • "First Selmer Silver Saxophone is Pronounced Superior to Brass Instrument by Rudy Wiedoeft," Vol. 73, No. 15, April 9, 1927, pg. 35
  • (feature story), Vol. 156, No. 12, January 2009, pps. 112–118: The article is an example of history and commentary works of the magazine

Historic reviews

Harry Botsford (born 1890) wrote an article titled in The Editor (Ridgewood, New Jersey), Vol. 52, No. 7, April 10, 1920, pps. 4–5. In it, he lauds The Music Trades as "one of the foremost publications which may be classed as a trade journal," and proceeds to examine a particular issue — Vol. 58, No. 25, December 20, 1919. Botsford points out that the articles in the issue are diverse, but at first glance, seemingly not relevant for a lack of direct connections to the music field. Yet he sees how topics of other sectors and industries — and commerce as a whole — relate to music commerce. Botsford stated that the articles, all of them, were interesting and well-written; but averred that each writing assignment might have been better-filled by "a live writer in the field, if said writer would have used his brain." Botsford, a trade writer himself, seemed to be challenging his profession to exercise more interdisciplinarity writing. Referring to Secor's article, Botsford posed the question, "Why couldn't some of we fellows who write for farm papers have thought of the idea? Have we been overlooking possibilities?"
The December 20, 1919, issue, as a whole, bears some similarities to some of the special macro-economic issues of the 21st-century. Botsford's review covered the following articles by authors, nearly all of whom were trade publication editors:
Gustavus Dedman (G.D.) Crain, Jr. (1885–1973), founder of Crain Communications in 1916 and later, in 1930, founder of Advertising Age
Iverson Currie Wells (1873–1950), editor of The Black Diamond
Fred Herbert Colvin (1867–1965), principal associate editor of American Machinist
Alson Secor (1871–1958), editor of Successful Farming
Benjamin Olney Hough (1865–1931), editor of the American Exporter
Julius Wilcox (1837–1924), editor of Insurance magazine
Paul William Kearney (1896–1970), associate editor of Advertising & Selling
Earle Manton Wakefield (1889–1941), former editor of the Furniture Record
Alastair Robertson-McDonald (1883–1927), formerly of the editorial staff of The Upholsterer and The Furniture World
Robert Dawson Hall (1872–1961), editor of Coal Age
Gen. Felix Agnus (1839–1925), publisher of the Baltimore American
Ralph H. Butz
had been published earlier in The American Blacksmith Auto & Tractor Shop, Vol. 18, No. 1, October 1918, pg. 129
Charles E. Wright, editorial staff of The Iron Age
Charles J. Stark (1882–1978), editor of the Iron Trade Review
Arthur Lee Ford (1871–1939), editor of the American Lumberman
Rudolph Charles Jacobsen (1860–1929), editor of Hide and Leather

Regular features and sister publications

The Music Trades: current annual cover stories, analyses, and awards

  • "201X in Review" is published in the January issue
  • "The NAMM Show Special" is published in the February issue, which are released every January — in sync with the annual January event
  • "Music Industry Census," published in the April issue, is an annual cover story survey of dollar volume and unit data; in 2014, it the Census covered 65 product categories, including musical instruments and audio products
  • "The Top 100," published in the April issue as part of the "Music Industry Census," is an analysis and recognition of the largest U.S. suppliers of music and audio gear ranked by sales volume
  • "Retailing Around the World" is published in the May issue
  • "The Retail Top 200," published in the August issue, is an analysis and recognition of the largest retailers in the United States
  • "The Guitar Issue" is published in the October issue
  • "The Global 225," published in the December issue, is an annual analysis and recognition of leading music and audio suppliers worldwide

The Music Trades: quarterly reports and analysis

  • "Quarterly Retail Sales Data" — published in the March, June, September, and December issues — is a poll of U.S. retailers (over 1,000) on sales trends of product categories and regions
  • "Quarterly Import Data" — published in the March, June, September, and December issues — is a statistical supply chain report and analysis of imports

Separate reports

The Music Trades publishes current industry reports, data, and analyses — separate from the magazine — aimed at all constituents in the supply chain of music products.

Sister publications

  • The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries is published by The Music Trade Corporation. It was first published in 1897 as The Piano Purchaser's Guide, but was soon renamed The Piano & Organ Purchaser's Guide for 19XX. Sometime around the 1920s it was again renamed The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries, and absorbed The Piano & Organ Purchaser's Guide. Since inception, it has been published annually and, for many of its early years was included with a subscription to either The Music Trades or Musical America. The 2016 edition of The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries is the one hundred and twentieth edition.
  • Musical America, from 1898 to 1960 — when it was owned by Freund, then Trade Publications, Inc., then Majeski — was an affiliate publication

Serial identification

Volume numbers
  • Weekly: 1891–1929
The Music Trades — first published January 3, 1891, Vol. I, No. 1 — was a weekly publication from inception to February 9, 1929, Vol 77, No. 6. The following issue, dated February 15, 1928, Vol. 77, No. 7, was the first monthly, followed by March 15, 1929, Vol. 77, No. 8. As a weekly, the volume numbers changed every half year; i.e., the first half of 1924 — January 5 through June 28 — was published under Vol. 67, Nos. 1 through 26. The latter half of 1924 — July 5 through December 27 — was published as Vol. 68, Nos. 1 through 26.
  • Monthly: 1930–present
Beginning with February 1929, when the magazine became a monthly publication, the volume numbers changed every year, initially at January, but eventually at February. For February through December of 1929, the Vol. was 77. The publication currently, for 2016, is on Volume 164 (CLXIV)
  • Issues of The Music Trades published before 1923 are in the public domain. The copyrights for those publications have expired.
"The Music Trades," as a standard character mark, is a US registered trademark. It was re-registered January 25, 2011, under Serial No. 85046105 and Registration no. 3910654. The registration officially reflects its (i) first use anywhere and (ii) first use in commerce on January 1, 1891.


Volume notes
  1. Music, A Review, was published weekly on Thursdays, but dated on Saturdays.
  2. The volume number for The Music Trades of January 26, 1929, was incorrectly published as Vol. No. 78. The issues published the week prior and the week after were both Vols. 77
  3. In Vol. 17, No. 4, January 28, 1899, Freund announced he would "consolidate my two papers and publish them together as Music Trades and Musical America." Each publication kept its own title and numbering


During the 1890s, the executive office for The Music Trades was at 24 Union Square East, Manhattan, New York. From around 1897 to 1915, it was at 135 Fifth Avenue at 20th Street — which, at the time, was at the heart of the wholesale music trade district in New York City. From around 1915 to 1937, it was on Fifth Avenue — 505 (1915), 501 (1919). From about 1930 until the mid-1970s, the executive offices for The Music Trades were in Steinway Hall, 113 West 57th Street, Manhattan, New York. From 1927 to 1929, when The Music Trades was owned by Trade Publications, Inc., the offices were at 235 East 45th Street, Manhattan, New York. From the mid-1970s to present (2016), the executive offices have been in Englewood, New Jersey.