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    Who Owns What

    According to the free online encyclopedia
    a host of record labels that were once part of smaller companies or
    independent altogether are now part of the ‘Big Four’ record
    companies, which hold 70 percent of the music market share
    worldwide (a $30 to $40 billion industry in 2004).

    Universal Music Group ($7 billion in revenue)
    includes A&M, Decca/London Deutsche Grammophon, Island, MCA,
    Motown, PolyGram, and others.

    Sony BMG Music Entertainment ($9 billion),
    which as of August 2004 consisted of the merger between Sony Music
    Entertainment and BMG Entertainment, includes Columbia, Epic,
    Arista, RCA, and others.

    EMI Group ($4 billion) includes Angel, Blue
    Note, Capitol, Odeon, Parlophone, Virgin, Positiva, and others.

    Warner Music Group, a.k.a. WEA ($2.5 billion)
    includes Warner Brothers, Elektra, Atlantic, London, Reprise,
    Rhino, and others.

    Who Owns What

    Worried about media consolidation? There’s still hope! Clear
    Channel only owns 66 radio stations in California, and that can’t
    be all of them. Numbers can be dazzling — especially where media
    ownership is concerned. The Columbia Journalism Review web
    site offers a searchable list of media properties, timelines for
    six major media conglomerates, and links to nearly six years of the
    Review’s articles about media ownership in its Who Owns What

    The media ownership list, maintained by media/publishing writer
    and Ithaca College professor Aaron Moore, gives internet surfers
    the ability to search through the corporate family trees of 47
    international conglomerates, the total of which may own almost
    every media related firm — big and small — that the average
    American has ever heard of. Random House Publishing? The German
    giant Bertelsmann owns it and its more than 60 subsidiaries. MTV?
    Viacom owns it and 14 other cable networks, plus broadcast
    television stations, publisher Simon & Schuster, and more radio
    stations than any normal net surfer has time to count.

    The site has timelines for six conglomerates, including Disney,
    Time Warner, Viacom, and News Corp., the latter of which tells the
    fascinating story of the Fox media machine from William Fox’s 1915
    legal battle against Thomas Edison to Rupert Murdoch’s duopolies in
    Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Washington D.C., Houston, Chicago and
    Orlando in 2001-2002. A short summary of News Corp. at the top of
    the chronology offers the disturbing revelation that Fox News
    Network now has more viewers than CNN.

    But perhaps the most entertaining part of the Columbia
    Journalism Review
    ‘s Who Owns What page is the archive of
    articles on media ownership. Alison Gregor reports on what happened
    when the Spanish-language television broadcaster Univision wanted
    to buy the Spanish-language radio network Hispanic Broadcasting
    Corporation: it would have meant control of 70% of the ad dollars
    for Spanish-language media in America. And what is ‘canned news?’
    CJR staff report on NewsProNet, a company that creates
    television news stories devoid of any reference to locality so that
    they may be broadcast by any local station around the country. Gal
    Beckerman writes about FCC chairman Michael Powell’s visit from
    fifteen women in pink angel outfits with a scroll demanding the
    repeal of the new FCC rules — a fitting response to his statement
    five years before that ‘a visit from the angel of the public
    interest … did not come.’
    Harry Sheff

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    Who Owns What

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    Published on Aug 1, 2004


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