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The Rise of the Big Six… or Five?

So, why didn’t these companies think of this before instead of recently, in the 90’s, trying to dominate the industry across all levels? One reason for this is that these entertainment conglomerates realized the power of music throughout every other medium. Music can be found in television, film, broadcasting, live performances, and recordings. By owning just one copyright of a hit song, these conglomerates could sit back and watch the income roll in as they gain royalties from the song. They could win big from this one song from every movie that featured it, every performer that decided to sing it, every radio that decided to play it, and especially every recording that was sold.

The big players have realized in the past few years that by buying more labels or merging together, they can diversify their music portfolio and decrease their risk of failure from any one market. EMI and Time Warner have very recently (in 2000) combined forces, thereby becoming the leaders in the music industry. The following chart shows the leaders of the music industry distibutor in the U.S. for 1999:

Total US Album Market Share by Distributor

Big Six Profile


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Last Update: April 5, 2000