20 June 2004

The Bland Leading the Bland

It looks like the music business is about to get more concentrated than it already is. The BBC reports that the EU's chief of antitrust enforcement has "decided to back the merger" of BMG and Sony Music. This will result in about 82% of the music market in Europe sitting in the hands of one of four companies. Under US antitrust standards, this results in a HHI of nearly 1700 if the four are exactly equal, and nearly 1750 if the top company's share is only 6% higher than the fourth-place label. Since an HHI of over 1600 is presumptively "suspicious," this should at least result in a searching examination—not the apparent whitewash and lobbying it's getting.

Christina Aguilera, Alabama, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, The Doobie Brothers, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny G., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Whitney Houston, Barry Manilow, Jim Nabors, NKOB, Fritz Reiner, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Andreas Vollenweider, Roger Whittaker, John Williams (composer), and Yanni now all in the same lineup? The earth is doomed.