Frank Harding

Frank Harding was a Tin Pan Alley music publisher, who was credited with creating the method of selling music called plugging. Harding paid singers to sing his published songs in shops and beer halls to get them known and attract customers.[1] He was active from the 1880s through the 1920s.[1][2]

While the Tin Pan Alley group of publishers was characterized as a group of "brash young men" who entered the music publishing business in the 1880s,[1] Harding took over his father's "serious" music business and turned it toward popular music for Tony Pastor's shows. He published music that he wrote and also bought it from other songwriters. Stories about him say that he traded beer for songs and that he won songs in games of poker.[3][4]

Another of his business practices was to charge performers to have their portrait printed on sheet music. Then he gave them the sheet music to hand out as they wished, and made money from selling advertisements on the back cover page.[4]

He sold his business to salesman Edward B. Marks, who became a major figure in Tin Pan Alley publishers.[4] E. B. Marks is now an imprint of Carlin America.


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