The last British giant, EMI, has been in the hands of private equity companies for some time, and has been effectively for sale for a while now, the private investors having bought it at what now seems an obviously inflated price just as the music industry began to feel the financial impact of digitisation.This article contains a useful update on all this.
So, will the Big Four become the Big Three?
A little bit of theory: Chomsky's propaganda model includes as one of the five filters 'concentration of ownership, while Ben Badikian has written about the negative impact of monopoly (a topic we'll explore for the exam Media Regulation topic) in his classic book The Media Monopoly (now renamed The New Media Monopoly)
Leading corporations own the leading news media and their advertisers subsidize most of the rest. They decide what news and entertainment will be made available to the country; they have direct influence on the country's laws by making the majority of the massive campaign contributions that go to favored politicians; their lobbyists are permanent fixtures in legislatures.
This inevitably raises suspicions of overt conspiracy. But there is none. Instead, there is something more insidious: a system of shared values within contemporary American corporate culture and corporations' power to extend that culture to the American people, inappropriate as it may be. (excerpt from http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Media/Afterword_Bagdikian.html)
You can find an archive of articles at http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/emi
Some recent, useful additions include:
'EMI: the sad demise of a very British company: For three decades, EMI took on the world in record sales. Now its sale to Sony and Universal marks the end for the music major'
'Universal and Sony reach deal to buy EMI for £2.5bn: Famous British music business could be split into two in agreement that hands control to biggest rivals'
'Farewell then EMI, your tunes were the background to our lives: The company that brought us Cliff and the Beatles, the Sex Pistols and Susan Boyle is disappearing. We should salute its contribution to our culture'