Another reason for this expansion was the creation of sub-culture, i.e. teenagers. More people were staying on in education whereas before the war you left school and were considered an adult at the age of 15. These people were not considered adult but were no longer children, this created a separate group perfect for marketing to.
By the late 1970’s the world saw yet another technological expansion with the introduction of recording equipment. Finally the 1980’s saw the emergence of CD’s, the tape cassette now dead.
With sub-culture, new technology and a new age the music industry was stronger than ever. This sub-culture uses music to identify themselves and create a sense of belonging. Separating themselves into groups based on music genres i.e. hippies, Mods, Rockers. Through these periods of expansion the current music industry exists today.
There are three groups that music companies fall into; they are Majors, Minors and Independent or indie companies. The majors are global companies these include, EMI, Warner Music, Universal-Vivendi, MCA, BMG and Sony. Many of the companies own some Minors or Indies but retain the name and image of these companies so that they continue to appeal to the sub-cultures that buy the music produced by the artists covered by that label.
The minors include Virgin Records (owned by EMI), Bad Boy records (49% owned by Warner Music). These companies operate on a national scale. But in order for any artists on their label to operate at global level, the company would need the help of a major, thus relinquishing control.
Finally there are the independent companies or labels. These companies operate on a regional level these include. One of the biggest independent companies to exist was Motown (which is now fully owned by Warner) this company was run solely by African Americans and was based in Detroit. No independent company can afford to enter a global or national market; therefore any time an artist on an indie label receives a demand outside of their region the independent labels sell to a major. For example ‘Creation’ 49% of which is owned by a major company.
Some of the major companies are also vertically integrated. Sony for example also makes recording equipment, and players. So the company could control a product from the idea right down to the final production. With a band playing their song on Sony instruments, recording on Sony recording equipment and being contracted by Sony’s music label. Their CD would be Sony CD’s and finally when a consumer buys the CD it would be played on a Sony stereo. This way the company maximises on profit and the money involved in producing this band will stay within the same circle.
Another way in which record companies can produce a similar effect is through the symbiosis of the record companies and electronics companies. Through this both sides are mutually beneficial.
Although this has not happened yet the major record labels are becoming more and more powerful. The minors and indie’s cannot afford to operate on such a large scale, and as a result the general public may never see some of the artists on their labels. The music industry has become formulaic and creativity is stifled. Music is mainly recycled or repackaged for example covers and compilation albums.
Music is more about image now than the quality of music, thus the importance of the music video. Arguably the first music video was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen aired on Top of the Pops in 1975. Music videos now are almost a commodity in itself and help to promote a band or artist’s image (possibly merchandise) and to elevate its status.