Friday, November 9, 2012

The Music Industry and the Awakening Global Consciousness

By: Stewart Brennan
World United Music
World United News

Shortly after the Second World War ended, a great euphoria captured the imagination of a generation and expressed how it felt to be free of war, oppression, and economic depression. Rock & Roll was born and with it, came the “The Recording Industry” which would capture the hopes, dreams, and aspirations, of millions.

Virtually overnight, “Records” had supplanted “Sheet Music” as the largest player in the music business. Rock and Roll bands became hugely popular as they began to emerge and make their way in front of millions of adoring fans via the ever expanding radio airwaves and the new broadcast format called television.

Rock n Roll music carried the voice and energy of an entire generation with a popularity that grew exponentially during the baby boom years after World War II. The planet was alive in vibrant energy with a euphoria that put happiness back into the steps of the masses. But it also put fear into those that were considered the establishment of the time.

Rock and Roll had a nemesis with envious eyes that was appalled by the rising power within the new emerging music scene. Lurking in the dark places behind international power politics was an establishment fresh off a military conquest, and they did not like the empowerment music had on the youth. The new music embraced by a youthful generation filled with energy, determination, and a new self confidence, rocked the very foundations of the establishment. 

First Attempts to Silence a Generation

The earliest rock stars of the 50’s experienced a series of attacks through a concerted effort by the establishment to defame the emerging stars from their fans by a number of mean spirited attacks.

By 1959, the death of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, plus the manditory military service for Elvis Presley, the prosecution of Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry, the infamous Payola Scandal and the retirement of Little Richard proved that the power behind the scenes was not ammused with the new Rock n Roll era and was decidedly against the powerful messages that it brought.

What followed was an assault on the music, where some suggest a “Feminisation” of Rock n Roll took place seen by the flood of love ballads at the start of the 1960s being aimed at the female audience.

However, the voice within the music industry was not controlled as Rock n Roll evolved with innovative developments and ways that built on rock and roll, including multitrack recording, developed by Les Paul, the electronic treatment of sound by innovators such as Joe Meek, the Wall of Sound productions of Phil Spector, and the rise of surf music, garage rock and the Twist dance craze.

There were many different streams of music that evolved directly from Rock n Roll, but there was also a fusion of genres that would feed the growing appetites of an expanding  population. From the mid-1960s on through to the mid 1980s, "rock n roll" music evolved into many genres that gave voice to the attitude and political thoughts of the people. As the recording Industry evolved, so too did the form of rebellion against the direction and drive of the political establishment.

Folk music gave rise to a youthful and very political anti-war voice that carried its weight by unifying millions of people across North America and Europe through clever ballads.

Protest music would become a battlefront for an establishment that now had a new and powerful political opponent at home. Radio airwaves across North America and Europe carried protest music that expressed dissatisfaction against the establishments warlike stance and economic stranglehold on the World.

The harder the establishment came down on political activism or anti-war demonstrations, the more topics created within the lyrics of the next album of songs by all who witnessed. It had the affect of strengthening the resolve of the people which made the music more popular and more political. The establishment found that they could not silence the voice against them short of controlling the airwaves of the music and news mediums.

Decisions Made to Control the Entire Recording Industry

Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s there were a great many record labels that an artist could approach to sell their talents. If one label did not like the tone of the music or the musician, the artist could simply shop his / her music to the record company down the street. Radio stations back then were local and expressed the issues and attitudes of the people within the broadcast signal, so there was no concerted control over what was played and what was not.  

Freedom of expression within the Music industry carried over the television and radio airwaves and became the single most important reason why the United States Government pulled out of Viet Nam in the mid 1970’s.

It was a battle that ended in victory for the people over a warring establishment. The victory struck a huge blow to the establishment’s control over the population but it was certainly not the end of the war for control over the population by the establishment.

Before the Music Industry Collusion

Before CD technology changed the direction of the music industry, there were hundreds, of small record labels eager to go into partnership with artists, but more importantly, the smaller label also had access to the radio airwaves. In reality, the small labels were directly responsible for the variety of musical content carried by the radio stations. The Radio content was also expressed by many different DJ’s through personalized radio programs that catered to specific audiences. Radio music shows had a great appeal to the public because the DJ’s had freedom to play whatever they wanted while crossing a wide variety of topics.

However, the establishment did not embrace free speech since peace, anti-war, and anti-establishment were the topics in many popular shows and songs that drove straight at the power structure. Free speech in music went against the status quo and considering that public opinion, through news and music, forced the military congressional complex out of Viet Nam in the mid 70’s, they grew more determined to silence free speech…short of declaring marshal law.

If a military industrial congressional complex was to ever sell another war to the American people, they needed to take control of all forms of communication, news and entertainment.

The Establishment Strikes Back

Control by the powerful few in the music industry happened when the largest record labels owned by the establishments entertainment industry circles, went into collusion in 1985. The American news industry was already going through a take over by large corporate interests including the creation of an all day news channel called CNN. The music industry was no different as several record labels had been aquired by large entertainment industry interests with big pockets.

Six major record labels “jointly announced” that they were adopting CD technology within a six month period following the announcement. They stated that they would no longer produce vinyl records and only produce CD’s and 4 track cassette tapes. The big six recording companies “Warner”, “Universal”, “EMI”, “BMG”, “Sony”, and “Polygram” used CD technology, to corner the market and destroy all the smaller labels that could not compete with a very new and expensive technology created by “Philips”.

The next move by the establishment was to take control of the radio airwaves and block the smaller labels from gaining access to radio promotion. They did this by quickly buying up radio stations all over North America, placing them in syndication and implementing a top 40 format that played only what the six major labels offered.

The slaughter was on and endless amounts of capital was directed at controlling the music end of the entertainment Industry, although the same thing was happening in the “News” Industry and by the same conglomerates.

CD’s, and radio syndication provided the answers of control that these C.F.R. (Council on Foreign Relations) Entertainment Industry Corporations needed. Human rights and public opinion are generally reflected through music, so controlling the art form was certainly a decision made in the highest of circles.

Freedom of Speech Regained:

A long silence (1986 ~ 2000) ensued once control was established in the music Industry. Most music from the past was not pressed into CD’s and most everything that the Major Record Labels offered after 1986 was pre-packaged and controlled. Everything out of mainstream music was contained in three genres, “Lude, Crude, and Rude”.

Most of what came out of the Controlled Industry was extremely negative. However, in all fairness there were many artists that truly made good music, but they were few and far between, unlike the pre-collusion years in music.

The Establishment had gained control of all aspects within the entertainment Industry but especially in News and Music. The test of their industry conquests would come in 1991 when the establishment was able to get a 90% approval rating for going to war against Saddam Hussain and Iraq. They controlled all paths of information including television, radio and newsprint. Anti War movements could not arise because the establishment was successful in silencing anti-war voices from being heard by the general public.

However, the establishment did not anticipate that technology would get the upper hand on them in the late 1990’s, especially with the combination of the computer, the Internet, file sharing, and websites like Napster.

Napster brought the music and a political voice back to the masses who’d been cut off from music variety and real news for about 15 years. Technology allowed the music contained on old Vinyl records to be digitized onto the computer via mp3 format. This practice became hugely popular because the music that had not been made available on CD by the big record labels was not only being digitized by music fans but was being burned into CD’s on home computers.

Suddenly the technology to make CD’s was available on the home computer. The very compact mp3 format made sharing music by email a unique thing until a Napster came along and provided a place for music fans to share the files they had with each other.

The sharing aspect of Napster sparked great interest by many, especially by those who were new to the old music; but most importantly, Napster gave rise to the “International Social Network” where chatrooms became HUGE information sharing hubs that sparked the beginning of the truth movement. People begun to find out just what the new unipolar World Order was up to.

The Music Industry immediately condemned file sharing and went after all the music sharing websites that sprung up shortly after Napsters arrival. The effect Napster had on sharing old music across the World on a social platform was like uncorking a bottle of champaign, unmuting the sound from old records and letting the voices out of the bottle to a new generation.

Most of the music shared wasn’t even available on CD until mp3 and computer technology allowed people to make their own CD’s; much like the Cassette allowed us to put our own favourite hits together or tape shows from the radio in the 1970’s and 1980’s…all perfectly legal back in their day.

The establishment lost the power to control information. The genie was out of the bottle and there was no way they could put it back in.

People started to communicate with each other on a Global basis and found out that what they were led to believe on a number of topics or what they were told went on in other countries by their corporate news networks was in fact complete BS. The ensuing revelations began a quest for knowledge and information, including the need to be in a social environment with others that fostered open communication, information and shared entertainment.

After Napster was handcuffed, the enlightened Chatroom groups from Napster moved to other websites and social networking exploded across the Internet through sites like MSN, and Yahoo. The timing was very critical too considering that Napster made huge impacts on people around the World in 2000 and 2001, right when a US election was stolen and 911 happened.

Genie out of the Bottle

Afterwards, wherever the public gathered to communicate, download music, or share information, the establishment unleashed their corporate power and money to try and stop the evolving social forums. However, the quest for music, freedom and truth continued to evolved as other websites began making their way onto the Internet as previous ones were bought out or shut down by a corporate oligarchy bent on re-corking the bottle.

As the quest for truth expanded, YouTube was born (2005 – 2006) and became a huge kick in the teeth to the upper echelons of power because now the control and direction of the entertainment industry was completely smashed wide open. All of a sudden, information, video creation, alternative news and Independent music had a platform in the public eye and it was in the hands of the people for the first time. Truth seeking mushroomed into a movement, and now, even though YouTube was taken over by Google, Facebook has become a police state tool of unwarranted spying by the establishment, or that Twitter has been taken over by corporate interests, the voice of the people, music, and information have evolved into a new age.

Today, in 2012, our personal freedoms are still constantly under attack by the corporate establishment regarding freedom of speech and social evolution on the Internet, but resistance continues to grow, and evolve and it is a global movement.

Alternative News media has exploded across the web. There is a new age unfolding where freedom of speech has returned with truth and investigative reporting. Mainstream News corporations are dying as more and more people are choosing to switch off their televisions and get their information online with alternative news websites.

Music has evolved away from what was once totally dominated by the major record labels. The emergence of Independent artists, Independent labels, and Internet radio stations have grown exponentially and begun to forge the future of the music industry. The major labels are no longer required and have long since become redundant. Music is once again filled with the political voices of resistance and individuality, variety in music has returned, social networking and internet radio have become the new promotional tools for music replacing the AM and FM radio airwaves. Online digital music stores are replacing physical corporate music stores…costs are no longer an issue and freedom of speech can once again be heard in the many voices singing socially appealing music.

It will take some time to rebuild the music Industry to its former glory, however the road to get there is very bright indeed.  

"The Revolution begins with Music!" ~ Stewart Brennan

World United Music
World United News

Back up Links:

Rock n Roll - Wikipedia
List of Record Labels
The Establishments definition of the Music Industry
The Record Label
Radio Syndication

The Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations Corporate Members

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