Wednesday, 21 July 2004

And then there were four?

With news that the impending merger between Sony and BMG's recorded music divisions apparently getting the go-ahead, I have to ask, is no one else scared of the ramifications of this? There will only be four majors left - BMGSony, Warners, EMI and Universal (three if EMI's bedhopping actually comes of something with Warners).

Back in the heyday of music - I like to call it the 80s - there were loads of "Majors" - MCA, Polygram, Warner, Sony, RCA, EMI - as well as a thriving indie industry - Go Disc!, Mute, Rough Trade, etc. You see, competition was a good thing.

Now that all the indies have either gone bust or been swallowed up by the majors, who are swallowing each other up in some sort of cannibalistic Darwinian nightmare, it can't be long until music will be released by the EMIBMGWarnerUniversalSony Record Label Ltd., the only remaining outlet for recorded music.

Monopolies are good for no one, as pricefixing and stagnation of product usually is the result (cough... Microsoft...)

Thankfully, as these majors are picking themselves off one by one, stalwarts are beginning to emerge. The Sanctuary Group, known for giving a chance to bands who's time has come and gone, are becoming a huge player in the international arena.

The feather in their cap seems to be not only recorded music, but a music management division as well as lucrative music publishing. Rumour has it they've just signed up Courtney Love for a publishing deal. This may not seem of much interest as she seems to spend more time in a pile of cocaine than making music, but she does hold the key to dead hubby Kurt's music as well. With the keys to the Nirvana publishing castle, Sanctuary stand to eek out some very good business deals in the coming years.

But, to reinterate, I am concerned about the BMG Sony merger.

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