How long until one company owns every bit of mainstream music?

Music publisher BMG are ready to bid for music publisher EMI. Music publisher Warner are likely to pitch in as well, while music publisher Sony and music publisher Universal won’t sit on the dock of the bay either. Apart from the fact that this would keep Competition Lawyers and Regulators lots of work to do, it worries me that so much musical power is being concentrated in fewer and fewer companies.

That’s fertile ground for a cartel to operate in. And not just in music sales, but in contracts with young and upcoming bands, leverage on digital providers such as Spotify and iTunes, and the chilling effect on the media (you can’t interview Hip Young Things until you say nice things about the thirty seventh Lady Gaga album… oh hold on, weren’t you critical of our redub of Revolver to include more Yoko Ono? And you need a cover story this month? What a shame). The divide between the major labels, the indies, and the independent online bands is going to grow, and I’m interested, albeit warily, to see where it goes.