On August 25, 2014, Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and Future of Music Coalition (FMC) submitted formal opposition 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 deal between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is the latest in a wave of major media mergersdrawing public concern and scrutiny from the feds. Deals like AT&T’s reported acquisition of Direct TV for $50 billion and Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp for $19 billion, along with last year’sMaker Studios buyout by Disney—also near the billion dollar mark—are part of a larger trend of corporate consolidation. The Comcast Time Warner deal itself could be upwards of $45 billion, but is not the biggest deal Time Warner has been a part of. The Time Warner/AOL Online deal in 2000 was the largest merger by value ever announced, coming in at over $186 billion.
Beyond the staggering dollar figures are very real antitrust and public policy concerns. Let’s look at what it means for creators and fans when just a few companies control so much of the media, technology and entertainment universe.
Interim Executive Director Casey Rae Speaks to MN Musicians and Composers
Monday, March 10, 2014
Good morning. Thank you for all for being here, and thank you for having me at the Minnesota Music Summit. It’s truly an honor to be joining you at this amazing event. Today, I want to explore the future of music, which is still being written, and which you all can play a part in writing. Some of the issues I’ll be bringing up will no doubt be familiar to you. Others may not be as familiar. But it’s not just about me giving some prepared remarks, it’s about dialog. It’s about the very real connections between people who are passionate about music, who create it and nurture it. And those are the connections that I love to make. In 2014, there’s no single approach to being a musician or composer, so it’s become critical that we listen and learn from one another.
You might think a two-time Grammy-nominee more than once named America’s Best DJ by DJ Times would be immune to label pressures. But as DJ and producer Kaskade explained in a series of tweets last month, that’s not the case. The frequent festival headliner (real name: Ryan Raddon) announced he is “in between labels,” leaving behind former label/publisher/mangement company Ultra Music (part owned by major label Sony): read more
The proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable into a telecommunications behemoth is the media equivalent of “too big to fail” banking. If the largest cable provider in the United States is allowed to merge with the second-largest, people living in major cities, suburbs and small towns across the country will find themselves even more tightly locked into a dysfunctional relationship with a monopolistic corporation focused on maximizing profits rather than serving local citizens. At the same time, the new cable giant will own national news, entertainment, sports and Spanish-language networks.
On February 12, 2014, news broke that Comcast, already America’s biggest Internet service provider and video distributor, would attempt to buy Time Warner Cable for 45.2 billion dollars. The deal would impact everything from internet access and pricing to how media is delivered.
The following statement is from FMC Interim Executive Director Casey Rae: read more
Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that he would be stepping down from his post, which he has held since the 2008 election of President Barack Obama. read more
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that he would be stepping down from his post, which he has held since the 2008 election of President Barack Obama.
The following statement is attributed to Casey Rae, Deputy Director of Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians.
“News of Chairman Genachowski’s departure was not unexpected, and comes at a crucial time for the FCC in terms of its commitments to an accessible media and communications environment for America. read more
Are you a musician? Do you live in a town with an awesome music scene? Are you or any of your peers enjoying recognition in your community or beyond? Do you get airplay on your local commercial radio station?
If you live in Los Angeles and your band is Red Hot Chili Peppers, you can skip the last question. If you are among the rest of musical humanity, we’re guessing the answer is “not so much.”
A more important question to ask is why even the most celebrated local and regional bands can’t crack commercial playlists in their own backyards. This has much less to do with talent or popularity and everything to do with media ownership.