15 Sep The Future of Competition in the Music Industry
Universal’s Gambit Poses Peril for Music Biz
Posted: 09/10/2012 11:30 am
The Huffington Post
“We are in an interesting period that sharply poses a key question for Americans: whether we still care about competition at all. As a recently thriving economy lies in ruins and we face some of the worst income inequality in our history, we might wonder whether our problems really have nothing to do with the rise of so many large, interconnected business firms that, with the complicity of judicial inaction, have been largely excused from competition. And even still, one after another, businesses continue to propose further, breathtakingly massive consolidations. When these things are proposed, squads of cheerleaders in the press and academia insist that they are actually good, that average Americans will benefit, rather than lose even more of their money, and that government intervention would be very unwise.
Well, here’s one of the latest: a French firm called Vivendi, already a megalithic media conglomerate, has asked the Federal Trade Commission whether its subsidiary Universal Music Group may acquire EMI, one of only four remaining competitors in recorded music. Let me say that again: There are currently only four major record companies. Like, in the whole world. In a typical year, these companies own all of the music on the Billboard 100 and 90% of music played on American radio stations. The Universal-EMI firm would single-handedly hold 40% and face only two meaningful competitors.”