Sony, BMG Merge into One Grotesque Abomination
July 21, 2004 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Sony, BMG Merge into One Grotesque Abomination. Sony Music and BMG combine to form the second largest music label in the world. Current plans? Layoff a bunch of employees. Future possibilities? Dropping lesser known bands.
posted by amandaudoff (31 comments total)

 
This is a joke, right ? .....right ?
posted by troutfishing at 10:47 AM on July 21, 2004


And then there four... We're down to four now, right?
posted by keswick at 10:53 AM on July 21, 2004


Yeah. I'm not so cool with that considering the size of two of them, though...
posted by amandaudoff at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2004


don't worry, troutfishing. when you wake up, you'll realize it was just a dream... really, nothing but a bad dream...
[i wish]

more information about it
posted by ubersturm at 11:10 AM on July 21, 2004


The RIAA Radar has been mentioned on MeFi before. It would be interesting to have a similar tool that could trace any record's label lineage all the way up to the Big 5 4. I'd even write it myself, if I knew where to get a reliable list of such a thing.
posted by patgas at 11:14 AM on July 21, 2004


Anyone else think of the Axis powers when they heard about this?

Sony: Because caucasians are just too damned tall.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:17 AM on July 21, 2004


What with this, software patents, the UK deeming mod chips illegal, I think I'll have to revise my opinion that Europe, unlike the US, is more for the little guy than for the anti-free-culture IP corporations.

But then what should I expect when the EU isn't really a democratic institution. I'm so naive.
posted by Blue Stone at 11:28 AM on July 21, 2004


Hi. I work for BMG. Please keep in mind that I am an actual person whose job was just put in jeopardy.

Continue your hating now...
posted by remlapm at 11:34 AM on July 21, 2004


remlapm- My uncle was laid off from Sony music after more than a decade of emplyment not so long ago. I'll be sending good job vibes your way.
posted by amandaudoff at 11:38 AM on July 21, 2004


p.s. I really like working here. I have worked for indies and mids but have met some of the best, most creative people at this company. I have also yet to stumble on a hushed hallway conversation where two money-hungry execs are plotting their next coup of popular culture.
posted by remlapm at 11:39 AM on July 21, 2004


What's good for big business is good for the economy, which means it's good for you.

Now swallow it!
posted by eas98 at 11:42 AM on July 21, 2004


That's the problem--they don't have the vision to plot a coup of popular culture, just an ability to copy what's popular and drive it into the ground while destroying the idea that popular music can also be good music. Duh! ;)
posted by The God Complex at 11:44 AM on July 21, 2004


remlapm, might I suggest you find the genuinely creative people you've met in your time there (I have no doubt there are many of them), handcuff yourself to them, and start thinking abut setting up your own label or jumping ship before you-all are pushed.

The music business, whatever shape it winds up taking, will need you more than ever as time five becomes four (becomes three, becomes two, becomes...)

I don't think I have anything nice to say about your company, but I definitely wish you all the best.
posted by chicobangs at 11:49 AM on July 21, 2004


In hindsight this, I guess we should have expected a merger like this. And there may be more to come.

In the early 20th century there were many ironworks and steel companies in the United Kingdom. As other materials like aluminum and plastic supplanted iron and steel, profitability declined and the mergers started. Eventually you only had one company in the UK, i.e. British Steel. It was a big company, but it employed far fewer people than all the old steel companies taken together. And in 1999 British Steel merged with a Dutch company to become Corus Group.

I think this sort of thing is inevitable and natural in twilight industries. The interesting question is what the new industry will look like.
posted by Triplanetary at 11:53 AM on July 21, 2004


I think the new industry will look very similar to what it looks like now, though it will be about distribution and content delivery.

Think of Sony/BMG as a utility company that streams their artists into your homes via MP3's or whatever. Small labels will have to hook up to one of the big four to get their content visable enough to be picked up by consumers. Consumers will still have the ultimate choice, that will NEVER change.

Fortunately, I deal in the legal and logistic matters of the above, so I am an obviously biased soothsayer.
posted by remlapm at 12:00 PM on July 21, 2004


it's an appalling spectacle when dumb ruthless megacorps have bad drunken unprotected sex. it's also their employees and customers who get stuck with the undesirable consequences, not them
posted by matteo at 12:30 PM on July 21, 2004


The scariest part about all this is I thought it was a joke.

Cider Braised Chicken Thighs with Gingered Beet Relish
posted by swift at 12:32 PM on July 21, 2004


Sony, BMG Merge into One Grotesque Abomination
Hideous mutant creature begs for death after painful transformation


Ha! Priceless. And true.
posted by Shane at 12:41 PM on July 21, 2004


Listen to remlapm. The main function of Big Music Inc is to provide the big bucks and big resources it takes to sell a few million records these days.

They're just a bunch of people trying to sell music and their whole success or failure is based on being able to offer you what you want.
posted by Leonard at 12:59 PM on July 21, 2004


The thing is that it has gotten hard for the smaller labels to gain shelfspace at record stores, much less radio time.

This is when the internet becomes very, very important for smaller labels.
posted by Dukebloo at 1:22 PM on July 21, 2004


The thing is that it has gotten hard for the smaller labels to gain shelfspace at record stores, much less radio time.

I don't know, I can't think of any point in my memory when indie labels have been any better off than they are now. I mean Sub Pop, Merge, Matador, Rough Trade -- these are not small, struggling labels anymore. Hey convergence is rough, but I figure the perceived hardship will only force the small fries to show what they can offer.
posted by UncleDave at 2:28 PM on July 21, 2004


Seems like a fairly smart move on the part of both companies. Amuses me to see so much concern here on the blue for two huge multinational enterprises which basically push so much crap* on to innocent, young consumers. Now it will be ONE huge mne. Oh, the humanity!

* Don't tell me Jessica Simpson, Bow Wow, Deep Forest etc (random picks from the sonymusic front page) and R Kelly and Pink (bmg) aren't comparable to Big Macs or other "evil" products...
posted by dagny at 3:58 PM on July 21, 2004


Dagny- My concern was for the smaller bands on both labels. It seems to me that with the combining of forces, there will be less of a desire to spend money on lesser-known artists when the lineup of "hit makers" has just doubled.
posted by amandaudoff at 4:05 PM on July 21, 2004


Excellent. Now if we're lucky, they'll spin out Sony electronics into a self-determined free entity. Then, Sony can go back to creating cool stuff that people want to buy instead of broken shit that puts protecting content in front of customer demand. Then the big music conglomerates can continue oozing their way towards their eventual doom.
posted by willnot at 4:21 PM on July 21, 2004


They're just a bunch of people trying to sell music and their whole success or failure is based on being able to offer you what you want.

Then they're failing miserably, because they haven't offered me what I want in years.
posted by rushmc at 4:36 PM on July 21, 2004


Sony, BMG Merge into One Grotesque Abomination

"It's a tasty world."

posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:59 PM on July 21, 2004


‘Sony BMG’ might be something that I would care about if I had bought a CD in the last eight years. There is an incredibly large amount of good, free music on the web being cheerfully ignored by most of the general populace. In conclusion: ‘meh’.
posted by snarfodox at 9:16 PM on July 21, 2004


For a sec, I thought BWG was merging with Sony. He is big in Asia, after all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:28 AM on July 22, 2004


Remind me just what the fuck we're paying Mario Monti for again anyway? DG Competition needs a gigantic kick up the arse for waving this through...
posted by dmt at 5:33 AM on July 22, 2004


Didn't BMG make a ton of money printing Nazi propaganda, you know, back in the day?

Just sayin.
posted by delmoi at 8:51 AM on July 22, 2004


"Consumers will still have the ultimate choice, that will NEVER change."

Ah, yes : KFC, McD's, Wendy's, or Burger King.

Consumers rule. That's why they're so plump and sick.
posted by troutfishing at 10:27 PM on July 22, 2004


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