Another year, another massive merger. Recall back in April 2015, when cable/internet behemoth Comcast—also owners of the major content studio NBC-Universal—walked away from its planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable, after folks like Future of Music Coalition pointed out how devastating this deal would be to content creators and Internet users. Well, now another slightly-less-massive cable co., Charter Communications, is attempting to gobble up TWC. If allowed to go through, this deal would create a true Mega Cable conglomerate with the same incentive as Comcast to call the shots on content and innovation while depriving creators and fans of choice in the legitimate digital marketplace.
Casey Rae is the CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy nonprofit. (He’s also the former music editor of this paper.) One of the coalition’s most successful projects is the 2006 report “False Premises, False Promises,” which traces the effects of the 1996 Telecommunications Act on the radio industry. read more
If you’ve ever negotiated with bandmates about where to eat after a gig, you know that musicians can have strong—and sometimes divergent—opinions about a lot of different things. Expand that to the broader music community—which includes independent and major record labels, managers, advocacy groups, artist unions and fans—and it gets even more complex. (Are we still talking about grub? Kinda getting hungry ourselves.)read more
WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Comcast officially confirmed its decision to walk away from its 45-billion dollar deal to acquire Time Warner Cable. This merger was widely criticized by creators and consumers alike, and had previously been greeted with skepticism by the USDepartment of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC). read more
WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Comcast officially confirmed its decision to walk away from its 45-billion dollar deal to acquire Time Warner Cable. This merger was widely criticized by creators and consumers alike, and had previously been greeted with skepticism by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC). read more
[UPDATE: Numerous media outlets—including the New York Times—are now reporting that Comcast is walking away from its 45 billion dollar plan to acquire Time Warner Cable.]
Cable giant Comcast seemingly has it all: ownership of a major content studio (NBC Universal), the biggest slice of the cable and broadband market and an army of lobbyists and lawyers ready to press their advantage at the state and federal level.
But sometimes even MegaComcast has a bad week. read more
How is it possible that a single company can be America’s biggest cable television provider, its largest Internet Service Provider (ISP) and also own a major motion picture and television studio (NBC-Universal)? What happens when that company is allowed to get even bigger by gobbling up another huge ISP and cable provider?
At first, I was thrilled to be discussing something other than Taylor Swift and Spotify, but then I got a bit annoyed at the binary nature of the debate. Those in support of Albini tended to be musicians from older generations who in earlier years struggled with basic issues like access to audiences. Those moved by Steinhardt tended to be disillusioned about the economics of music today, accompanied by a general fatigue that comes with trying to cut through a noisy marketplace.
I won’t rehash the points made by either gentleman (which you can read here and here). Both critiques are relevant in the sense that they describe aspects of the challenges and opportunities of making a life in music. However, in both pieces there is a tendency towards totalizing one’s individual experience—however valid—and applying that to the music community writ large. This leaves a lot out, including other genres, genders, cultures, races, ages, business approaches and creative ambitions.
WASHINGTONDC— The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) submitted formal opposition today to the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to deny the transaction. In 2010, both WGAW and FMC raised concerns about the vertical integration between Comcast and NBC Universal. Both organizations urged the FCC to adopt strong conditions to protect content creators, consumers and competition. But, in the three years following the merger, Comcast has used its market power to harm content competitors on both traditional and online content platforms.
The proposed acquisition of TWC, even with nominal divestitures to Charter and Spinco, will magnify the harms that have occurred in the last three years and will hinder the development of a diverse and competitive media market. The Guild and the Coalition assert that because the deal would grant an unprecedented amount of power to a single entity, harm consumers and create a serious threat to competition in the video and broadband marketplaces, it does not meet the FCC’s criteria for serving the public interest.
Creators gotta stick together. That’s why Future of Music Coalition is proud to join Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block the proposed merger between cable and internet behemoth Comcast and the slightly smaller behemoth Time Warner Cable (TWC).
We probably don’t have to tell you that both companies routinely win the top (dis)honor for worst customer service. What might be new information is how much control Comcast already has over what you see and hear. If the company is permitted to acquire TWC, they’ll possess unparalleled power over the future for music and video.
Our joint petition to deny the merger, filed before the FCC on August 25, 2014, makes the case that a combined company would reduce opportunities for creators of all kinds—including the folks that write for television and movies, as well as musicians and composers.