The messages in media, specifically in music aimed at youth are either entirely devoid of meaning or actively destructive to the purpose of creating a better world. We are pumping up preteens with messages that glorify the extravagantly wealthy and reduce women to role of a sexual objects. Since time immemorial the spirit of revolution has been nurtured and cultivated through music. From the hymns of the American slaves to the sounds of bands like Rage Against the Machine. However content is becoming evermore watered down with superficial and empty lyrics. How can we expect music to say something important about the status quo if all popular music is produced by the establishment?
1.Universal, Motown, Interscope, Def Jam
These music labels and others are all assets of parent company Vivendi. They represent about 25% of the market share. Vivendi began a massive sale of its assets as it had overstretched its acquisitions during the CEO term of Jean Messier. In 2002 they were raided under suspicion that they had made misleading claims to sell assets (Enron style). The French monolith also deals in water privatization around the globe. Privatization of utilities began when the free market religion began spreading around the globe. Once the idea that private corporations could do everything better and for cheaper than government, privatization became rampant. However when Vivendi takes over water utilities the cost tends to rise while the quality of service suffers. A scathing report from Puerto Rico cited over 3000 deficiencies in administration, maintenance, and operation. Operating losses went from $241 million to $695 million in just two years. These inefficiencies were of course absorbed by the tax payers in the form of rising costs.
2.Sony Sony controls about 20% of the music market share, as well making electronics.
Sony is so greedy that it violates Chinese labor laws that are themselves insufficient. The working conditions at Sony’s sweatshops are so terrible that workers are often driven to suicide. Overtime is legally limited to 36 hours a month but is routinely in excess of 140 hours.
These workers are forced to work standing up for ten consecutive hours and must complete an action every 3 seconds. Often they get no more than 10 minutes in the middle to use the restroom but because there are many people and few bathrooms they are often forced to forgo basic bodily functions for the duration of their entire shift.
Owned by Leonard Blavatnik through the parent company access industries whose roots are somewhat seedy. Even his friends don’t know what he did to acquire his capital back in Russia. One acquaintance referenced a saying prominent among Russian business men “ Never ask about the first million”.
Currently embroiled in privatization problems, Leonard also made a lot of money moving around Russia’s natural resources, primarily aluminum. Organized crime groups fought with investors both at home and abroad, this period was known as the time of the “aluminum wars”.
A partner in one of Russia’s most environmentally destructive oil companies. He pours money into American political campaigns on behalf of the GOP . His own company has contributed over a million dollars to candidates and has spent over 700,000 lobbying.
The big three labels Universal, Warner, and Sony are collectively owned by companies that steal natural resources, destroy infrastructure in numerous nation-states, and openly uphold a tradition of violating labor laws. These companies don’t deserve our support, this is why local music is so important. We must encourage a culture of musicians who can make a vital and popular living without contracting with the dominant corporations who hold the deed to the musical and creative landscape. Everyone is raised by music. And what we’re raised on matters. Taking back music is taking back youth. We the consumers have the power to foster a music community that inspires people to be better, inspires them to love people instead of money, and speaks about important geopolitical themes. Every time you attend a local show instead of a big concert you are doing just that. Every time you buy merch from a local band you are supporting the spread of music untainted by corporate influence. It’s time that we had a choice to enjoy music and not have to support evil by proxy!