The Structure of the Music Industry• Made up from MAJOR and INDEPENDENT LABELS• Dominated by 4 ‘Major’ music companies• THE BIG 4• which are made up of many (sometimes hundreds of) ‘labels’
Major Labels• The big 4 own between them 71.7 % of the world market share.• Most of the major labels are owned and controlled by the big 4 media conglomerates - who own many businesses involved in the music industry and other media industries.
What is a conglomerate?= a conglomerate is a very large global company that is made up from many different businesses.A media conglomerate describes large global companies thatown large numbers of companies in various mass media suchas TV, radio, publishing, music , films, and the Internet.
Media ConglomeratesThe world’s largest media conglomerates are..- Sony- News Corporation- Time Warner- The Walt Disney Company
What are the benefits to being part of a big multi-media conglomerate?Lots of available money! For the production of music/artists, distribution and marketing of their music. • The financial risk is spread over a range of different companies in different sectors – less chance of financial collapse if one sector does badly! • Synergy can help increase sales and block competitors.What is SYNERGY? Synergy is where the product from onecompany is promoted or exploited in other companies withinthe same group to maximise profit!
The Dark Knight and Synergy
And any disadvantages to being part of aconglomerate?• It can be a cut throat world – if you don’t make money, you could easily be sold off or simply shut down! There is a lot of pressure to make money...which may cause you play it safe all the time and stick to what you know works....
Pause for ThoughtIs it a good or a bad thing for the music industry thatit is dominated by four big companies that are partof international multi-media conglomerates?
Definitions – Majors• Major – Large record companies who own the largest share of the industry and are made up of several smaller ‘labels’ to which artists (usually big names) are ‘signed’ through ‘contracts’.• As they are part of larger corporations/media conglomerates, they have the power to create products, distribute them and market them extensively to the consumer.
Definitions - Indies• At its most straightforward, the term independent refers to companies that are independently owned and therefore completely separate from the majors.• E.g. In the UK - Rough Trade, Beggars Banquet etc…
Research TaskFind the latest album chart and investigatethe Top Forty entries:•Find out which record labels the artistsrepresent and if these labels are part of oneof the Big Four or if they are independent.•Find out what style of music the artistrepresentsShow your results as a graph and decide ifyour research shows the market isdominated by the Big Four and if you thinkthis limits the music available to us.
Indies and Majors• What type of music do independent labels produce?• What type of music do major labels produce?
Stereotypes of Majors and Indies• Majors and indies have always been viewed as binary opposites.• “Independents are evaluated very positively as innovative, authentic and closer to the audience.• The majors are seen as conservative, glossy . Mainstream and manipulative of the audience.”• “The majors have lots of money to produce and promote mainstream artists and their standardised, formulaic products. Their sole aim is to make money.”
Music as Art or Commodity?• “The indies who have very little money and are not motivated to make much either, so their artists produce obscure music that never sells and no-one ever hears of these bands.• The style is impossible to categorise within an established genre so we refer to it all as ‘alternative’.”• Therefore, the majors are seen to prioritise commercial over the creative.• The indies are seen to prioritise art.
Ideologies of Indies and Majors• “…contrary to their major counterparts… The indie sector is often seen as a place that privileges music as a creative art form, companies that sustain risk-taking ventures. Artists often sign with these labels with the impression that they will be given artistic freedom and autonomy to produce music without being shackled by the need to conform to commercial pressures, or to fit into existing music formulas that will sell more records and make more money.”• However, is this true? – We will investigate this further.
Challenging the Stereotypes• These stereotypes are too simplistic!• The majors can and do produce ‘alternative’, new types of music. This is not just the domain of the indies! It is in their interest to support creativity! – E.g. Both the Rolling Stones and The Beatles have always been signed to major labels and have always had the autonomy to create their own music. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWOyfLBYtuU http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&v=Gj5L9SYhoSE• Artists signed to indie labels aren’t always ‘alternative’ or non- mainstream! – E.g.. Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, The Strokes and Oasis/Noel Gallagher –all have mainstream appeal and success. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6m03FUYaTM
Plan B and Universal Music Group• One of the most individual UK artists to have emerged over the last few years is Plan B.• Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew , primarily known as Plan B or Ben Drew, is a British rapper and singer-songwriter , actor and film director from Forest Gate , London.• His first album Who Needs Actions When You Got Words (2006) only reached No 30 in the charts. A critique of street kids bad behaviour, delivered in their own language, it throbbed with moral indignation.• It was about the reality of stabbing, the reality of prison. It didnt make those things funny like Eminem does.
• He got fan mail from boys in prison, which made him feel that it was all worthwhile, although generally, he thought his album was misunderstood and undervalued, while big money rap with bad values was rewarded.• He has since won Brit awards and hit the number one spot with his singles and later albums.• Ill Manors Music Promo Video
Changes to the Music Industry in the Digital Age• Why do you think that Independent labels market share of the music industry in increasing while the Majors is decreasing?• Think about how the audience consumes music now.• What do audiences want? What allows them to get what they want now?