“Global institutions dominate media productions, these institutions sell their products and services to a global audience”. How far do you agree with this statement? I have been studying the current state of the music Industry, predominantly looking at the Independent music label Warp’ but also comparing and contrasting Its methods and successes with the major four record labels: Sony BMW, universal, MME and Warner Music Group.
I think it would be foolish to argue against this statement; from my examination of the music industry I have discovered that the major four record labels control Just ender 75% of the music industry between them, leaving little room for independent label such as Warp to compete against them. These four labels have the oligopoly when it comes to production, promotion and sales of the music industry, their profit margins are huge and this allows them to Invest heavily back into the Industry – this also allows them to market their ‘biggest’ artists globally, whereas Independent companies Like Warp predominantly promote their artist nationally.
However, just because I agree that a global giant like Sony does sell its products and revise to a global audience does not mean that small independent companies cannot reach a global audience – they Just cannot compete on the same scale. Sony is an example of both a horizontally and vertically integrated company; it is horizontally integrated because it owns companies that are responsible for the many processes that a record goes through from the production stages, the distribution of the record and the exhibition platforms needed for consumption.
Sony can also be described as a vertically Integrated company because…. But being such a large magnetometer, and having so many finger In so many pleas allows Sony to make vast amounts of money – and by using their own subsidiary or sister companies allows them to save money and push out smaller companies competing in the same field. Warp are an example of a horizontally integrated company. When the label was first established in Sheffield in 1 989 the founders brought an established record shop called ‘Fond’, selling experimental dance music to a niche local audience.
In the back of the shop was a studio and the means of producing the music it sold. By combining he two processes in the one place allowed for a saving to be made in distribution costs and provided a guaranteed exhibition site and a ready made audience. The label have remained Independent for over twenty years and have made changes in their business strategy In order to compete with a company like Sony. In the late sass’s Warp relocated to London – the heart of Britain’s music Industry, where Sony and universal all have offices.
This allowed them to sign artists that weren’t Just localized to a Northern audience. In recent years, Warp have also set up a second them to a wider audience. As previously mentioned, Warp cannot make the same financial investments into promotion for their artists, and instead find other ways to reach both national and global audiences. The internet is the biggest and most powerful tool that they have at their disposal for this.
The World Wide Web is a phenomenal and revolutionary Invention of the 21st Century in connecting people across the globe. It doesn’t matter if your are a musical conglomerate or an independent label every company can set up a web site dedicated to the promotion and exhibition of their artists that can reach a consumers from all over the world. The difference being that because Warp have to rely more heavily upon visitors to their site in order for them to purchase their products their website is more appealing to audiences.
Sonny’s website is bland and provides more of an informative basis for its artists – whereas Warps homepage is colorful, inviting and user friendly. It uses synergy and signposting to direct you to the artists personal websites as well as Backbone and Namespace pages in order to connect you with the bands of your preference. Obviously, bands and artists signed to Sony also have their own websites and social networking sites, but audiences are ore likely to seek them out directly rather than be signposted by the record labels homepage.
An artist who is signed to Sony BMW is more likely to have received vast amounts of funding, a minimum album deal and guaranteed chart success from the moment they sign their contract; take the winners from X Factor as examples, their prize is a в?500,000 record deal with Sony BMW, they all receive huge amounts of promotion and elaborate marketing campaigns, and all winners (apart from Joe McElroy) went on to have the Christmas number one in the UK charts due to the nature of the dominant USIA giant that is Sony!
And the promotion doesn’t end in the I-J – acts like Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke have gone on to have phenomenal success across the pond in the United States and also in Europe. Acts signed to Warp can’t expect to receive the same level of promotion and therefore the internet is vital to their promotional and exhibition efforts. Nard are more than Just a record label; in 2002 they branched out and begun to experiment in the film industry; and through their Warp Film company have produced some hit British Films, (with the financial backing of Film Four and the UK Film Council).
Notable successes are ‘This is England’ and ‘Four Lions’. Shame Meadows’ film ‘This is England’ was produced on a budget of El . 5 million pounds – a far cry from the investment made into films associated with Universal Film Studios (a sister company of Universal Music). Despite limited release of the film across I-J cinemas and a lack of promotion prior to release the film was a massive success. Its release onto DVD has earned the film over E million in return profit. The film was not only released in the UK but was also a surprise success in the United States too.
Proving once again that its not only the well established and wealthy studios such as Paramount and twentieth Century Fox than can make films that can be international In conclusion; whilst I agree fully with the statement that global institutions dominate both the music and film markets and have the ability to distribute their products and services globally we are not quite in the position where these conglomerate have completely monopolized the industry leaving no room for independent companies like Warp to compete and also sell their products to a global audience.