Three major record labels produce two-thirds of all music consumed in America. They are the most powerful buyer of music and talent, and they use that power to prioritize a handful of mega-stars and pop hits. They pitch music into massive radio conglomerates and streaming platforms that control how music is consumed, and they collect an ever-growing share of industry revenue.
Concerts, a crucial space where independent venues and artists have largely sidestepped corporate gatekeepers, are increasingly threatened by Covid shutdowns and the prospect that Live Nation and other Wall Street-backed giants will either buy them out or put them out of business. [...]
The broad middle class of independent artists, record labels, venues, and other small businesses must now rely on -- and increasingly pay -- monopolists for access to bands and fans. For some, the pandemic made a difficult situation impossible. [...]
Van Arman offered a simple litmus test for whether music is "independent," a shapeshifting term applied to everything from punk bands playing basement gigs to the cash-flush "indie" subsidiaries of major labels. "You are independent if you are pro-competitive," he said. [...] If you're independent, you're "not looking to reduce competition by acquiring rivals" or for other unfair advantages that tilt the industry toward corporate dominance.
A year without live music has been a disaster. So has corporate power in streaming, recording, and ticketing. Antitrust may be the only solution.
RIP Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire, possibly my favorite band of all time. Mute's statement, and Mallinder's.
Please enjoy some excellent music videos spanning several decades:
And here are the complete Doublevision and Gasoline In Your Eye VHS albums:
Bonus material: Billie Ray Martin's excellent cover of Crackdown:
Current Music: Cabaret Voltaire -- Vasto ♬