The Realities of Today's Media World
In the continuing discussion around my 'Affirmative Action Plan For Indies' editorial last week, IndieMusicClub founder Joe Taylor recommended 'rephrasing' my proposal to (i) address the labels fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders that has resulted in a "focus on quarter-to-quarter results [that] has put such a strain on musicians and label staffs," and (ii) that retailers live up to their responsibility to educate their audiences, much as was done in the old record shops of the '70s. You can read his full commentary at www.indiemusicclub.com/blog/
While I agree with the spirit of Joe's comments, I unfortunately feel it is more a nostalgic call for the past that clashes with the realities of today's world. The major labels are owned by mega-media conglomerates financed by global capital markets. So the problem is not simply the labels fiduciary responsibility, but the conglomerates responsibility while controlling a significant stake of our culture heritage and the means to deliver it to society. These are today's facts and I know of no way they can be undone unless those conglomerates were to be 'nationalized.' In addition, there is little evidence that Bertelsmann, a family-owned conglomerate, acts any differently than AOL/TW or Vivendi. The most effective remedy, in fact, is to bring balance to the labels fiduciary responsibilities through legislation such as in California clarifying the labels responsibility to their signed artists.
Regarding retailers' responsibilities, let's take a look at today's retailers: WalMart, Target, mail-order, TV ads, ... How can we expect mass retail companies to educate consumers on something they know nothing about? Just look at the list of CDs banned from WalMart's shelves. In any case, retailers don't influence our purchasing decisions, TV, radio, magazines and the Net (ie., Big Media) do. They are the only ones in a position to be able to educate the masses and there was a time not so long ago when they were expected to. Unfortunately, corporate responsibility seems to have gone out the window with accurate accounting and corporate taxation.
MusicDish Network Advertisement|
I'd first like to make clear, for the record, that my suggestion of establishing an indie quota on major media outlets was more to stir discussion over a subject I feel the industry remains largely mute than any serious or even practical attempt at a solution. What I do believe is a serious and viable alternative to quotas and media review lobbyfests is structural separation: strict and clear rules that would (i) prevent a conglomerates affiliate from discriminating in favor of the parent's other affiliates (ex. MTV/Famous Music Publishing/Viacom), (ii) reinforce point (i) in the case where the conglomerate owns major stakes both in content and distribution, (iii) retain day-to-day operational management/decision making at the affiliate level rather than centralized with the parent company (ex. Clear Channel), (iv) link employee bonuses to the performance of their affiliates/divisions rather than that of the parent.
Now before someone shoots me another email asking "How left wing are you going to allow yourself to get?" such rules have been the bread-&-butter at the FCC and state regulatory agencies for decades. For example, there are regulatory 'chinese walls' between Verizon's parent and its state affiliates as well as between its regulated and unregulated services. I was fortunate enough to work on the question first-hand in the context of NTT's (Japan's main telephone company) divestiture into a holding company structure. It's not pleasant nor perfect, but imminently feasible and recognizes the reality of today's marketplace.
» indieOn Connects Music to the Blockchain
» 13 Music Label Sold to MTN
» Darcus Beese Named President Of Island Records
» ASCAP Revenues Top $1.144 Billion In 2017
» BMG Appoints New Creative Directors In Nashville
News Beat Directory
» [2018-09-16] Live Nation Electronic Asia Inks Deal With Budweiser For Creamfields Festivals; Together, Creamfields And Budweiser Will Focus On Building Entirely New Content For Dedicated Electronic Music Fans Throughout Asia
» [2018-08-23] Andy Ma Appointed Warner Music China CEO; Andy Ma Has Also Been Appointed EVP, Commercial And Business Development For Greater China
» [2018-08-23] IndieOn Connects Music To The Blockchain; IndieOn Is Confident Of Creating A "music Miner" Who Listens More And Grow Their Token Value
» [2018-06-23] The 2018 MIDEM Silk Road International Music Alliance Signing; International Music Industries Signing Of A Mutual Resource Sharing Agreement With Shanghai Conservatory Of Music & The China Records Group
» [2018-06-06] Screen Music Connect To Explore The Music Of Film, Television And Interactive Media; Created By James Hannigan, Award-winning Composer And Game Music Connect Co-founder, Screen Music Connect Builds On The Success Of The Sold-out Game Music Conferences
» [2018-06-05] Fred Casimir To Develop BMG's Global Recordings Business; As Well As Building BMG's European Infrastructure, Casimir Was Instrumental In Developing BMG's Recordings Business
» [2018-06-03] 13 Music Label Sold To MTN; DSN Music Spins Off Record Label To Albuquerque Music Entrepreneur's New Group
» [2018-06-02] CISAC 2018 Annual Report; A Comprehensive Overview Of The Confederation's Work To Serve 4 Million Creators And 239 Authors Societies Across The World
» [2018-06-02] MusicDish Announces A Love Electric 2018 China Tour; The Tour Will Crisscross Through China With 12 Shows In 8 Cities, Including Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Kunming, Jiaxin, Wuhan And Beijing
» [2018-06-02] Darcus Beese Named President Of Island Records; Renowned U.K. Music Executive To Join Universal Music Group's U.S. Label Leadership
» [2018-05-17] Avant-Garde Label Maybe Noise Launches In Beijing; The Official Launch Will Be On May 26 At Magnet Theater With A Performance Supporting Its First Vinyl Release: Píng Zè
» [2018-05-04] Award-Winning Lithuanian Rock Band Colours Of Bubbles "She Is The Darkness" 2018 China Tour; The Tour Will Kickoff In Shanghai Where The Band Will Represent Lithuania During The Country's Signing To The Silk Road Music Alliance
follow MusicDish on