Loose Integration in the Popular Music Industry
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The Big Four music oligopoly practices cultural gate-keeping for global markets. However, in spite of consolidation in the sector, the music industry is more loosely integrated vis-a-vis the rest of the entertainment industry than it was under the Big Five. As the sector concentrated, it also differentiated into two ownership classes. The Big Four are evenly split, two with affiliations with entertainment conglomerates and two without such affiliations. However, the majors as a group continue to share strong market power as a cartel. In the future, the interaction of the two affiliated and unaffiliated dyads in online music markets may divulge coordinated rules for CD pricing and controlling over access to digital catalogs. This paper considers Internet distribution of music as a technology practice contributing to, and perhaps reinforcing, loose integration. 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.
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