Why The Music Died

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By milleniumfalcon
May 27, 2004

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I was the music and program director for my college radio station back in the late 80's and early 90's. I can tell you that the consolidation in the music business is by far the biggest reason so much music sucks and why the business is losing money. I used to get literally hundreds of records a month from different labels. Now all the labels have been eaten up. Look here for a history lesson.

I.R.S Records (and Illegal and Faulty) was formed in 1979 by Miles Copeland (brother of Stewart Copeland of the Police.) Closed down in the 1990's.

�EG Records
�Zero Hour

...and lots more bankrupt.

�Sire formed in part of Warner.
�Reprise Records...started by part of Warner.
�Electra ...began 1950...merged with Asylum in 1973.
�Asylum...started by the 60's...merged with Electra (which owns Fiction) in part of Warner.
�Atlantic Records started in the 1940' part of Warner.
�Rhino bought by Warner in the 1980...I think.
�In 1951 Christian label Word started (and imprints Myrrh, Dayspring & Maranatha!)... bought by Warner.

In 1949, RCA-Victor developed and released the first 45RPM. Sold by GE to Bertelsmann.
�Arista started by Clive Davis in ' part of Bertelsmann.
�Jive owned by BMG.

�Epic was started in 1953 and now part of Sony.
�Columbia Records...started in part of Sony.
�Capital records bought by EMI in 1955.
�Parlaphone part of EMI, as is Narada.
�Chrysalis was created in 1969 by Chris Wright and Terry Ellis, and sold to EMI in 1991.
�Sparrow Records, a Christian Label (owns Forefront), Virgin Music (which owns Caroline) all bought by EMI in the 1990's.
�Christian label Star Song sold to EMI in 1994.
�In 2002 EMI buys Mute (which itself owns Blast First).
�Blue Note starts waaaay back in part of EMI.
�Capital owns 50% of Proprity.

�Gramophon-Philips Group merge to form Polygram (and the Polydor name) in 1962.
�Mercury started in 1945 sold to Polygram in 1962
�Polygram bought RSO (UK) in 1967.
�MGM Records started in 1947 and sold to Polygram in 1972 (including the old Gospel label Lamb & Lion).
�Verve starts in 1956 and bought Polygram in 1972.
�Casablanca bought by Polygram in 1977.
�A&M formed in the early 1960s by Moss and Alpert. Sold to Polygram in 1989.
�Island started by Chris Blackwell in Jamaica in 1959 (including Antilles). Sold to Polygram 30 years later.
�Motown sold to Polygram in 1933.
�Def Jam sold to Polygram in 1994.
�MCA started in 1924 in Chicago, bought Paramount records, including Anchor, Apt, Bluesway, Blue Thumb, Chancellor, Command, Dunhill , Grand Award, Impulse, LHI, Probe, Shelter, Sire, Tangerine, bought Geffin in 1990....Bought by Universal.
�1998 Polygram is sold to Seagram sold to Vivendi-Universal to now NBC Universal.

�Provident Music Group was created in the late 1990's as a conglomerate distributor for smaller labels of, including: Benson, Brentwood, GospoCentric, Cross Movement Records, Essential, Diadem, Windam Hill, Reunion, Verity & Rounder. I guess it was the only way they can survive in this climate.

�Disney owns Buena Vista, Hollywood, Mammoth and Lyric Street Records, and probably some more.

Not that many "big" indies [independents] left.
�Alternative Tentacles
�TVT (owns WaxTrax)
�Rough Trade (which croaked but was reborn)
�Tooth & Nail
�Discipline Global Mobile
�Touch and Go

Music is local. Schmucks in big corporate offices don't get that. They never will. (Except for the occasional smarty like Clive Barker.) Too much conservatism. Businesses do not like risk...risk is BAD...VERY BAD.

Little people get ignored...little labels can't hack it. Big labels refuse to allow bands to go on tour for years to develop a fan base, like they used to in the late 70's and 80's with The Police, The Cure, REM & U2...and then allow them to 'break big.' The discovery of 'alternative music' by the big guns in the industry squelched any real creativity in the 'alternative' music. No one wants to touch a band like:

Here's to ya!

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