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Links to other sfmission and carnaval music pages:
Brazilian music's hot! Learn more about it here.
Resources for music lovers of all kinds in our Aforum Music Section.
MEDIA GUIDE(s) in our aforum ||Galleries in the SFMission
|TIME TO SEE OUR WAY CLEAR:
As the Clear Channel Revolt grows, the question becomes:
Can the pendulum swing far enough to create another music renaissance for the Bay Area?
We'll keep score here: top artist (by USA album sales) || top_100_alltime_albums || quintuple_platinium || Concert boxscore by billboard.com
July 2004: Low Power Radio Act of 2004
Breaking news! Federal court shoots down FCC's lax media ownership rules. Get the scoop in our Big Media section.
Concert revenues continue to decline. Learn more in the Music Trends section of Aforum.
Capitol Hill observers say media ownership has been the second most discussed issue by constituents in 2003, trailing only the war in Iraq. The public is overwhelmingly opposed to media monopoly, yet the Bush administration apparently believes the fallout is worth it in return for long-term right-wing business allies dominating the public information channels.
In 1996, with remarkably little public debate, a newly empowered Republican "Contract with America" Congress passed the Telecommunications Act which singled out radio for sweeping ownership deregulation. The big winner has been Clear Channel, who expanded from 40 stations to 1,225 and became the dominant concert and billboard vendor as well. Their widespread abuse of this monopoly position has not been widely reported by the media outlets who are hoping to achieve similar monopoly positions. All this despite widespread opposition to the loss of local independent voices.
Who can stand up to Goliath?
"You have a game plan by a large national corporation to try and capture market share by driving everyone out of the business: overpaying for talent so other promoters can't afford to compete and raising ticket prices on a broad basis so the consumer has to pay for it." -- Greg Perloff speaking about Clear Channel
Another Planet is the production company run by former Bill Graham protege Greg Perloff. Since scoring a coup in booking Bruce Springsteen at SBC Park last year, this upstart has continued to carve a niche in the face of entertainment giant Clear Channel. Another Planet shows are now being booked at the Greek Theatre, Oakland Arena, SBC Park and many other locations.
This is a good thing, right? Maybe, but as this article from the Sacramento Bee points out, not everyone is throwing confetti just yet. Presents the perspective of Clear Channel, Another Planet and small-time promoters.
Whatever your point of view, here's a breakdown of how it happened in the Clear Channel Archives.
So how did Clear Channel become the big bully of radio and live entertainment? Some of the best coverage of this story has come from Salon.com's Eric Boehlert. We've archived his reports on the emerging monopoly in the Clear Channel Archives.
Lowry Mays, Clear Channel Boss.
Recent Articles on Clear Channel:
Another Growing CLEAR CHANNEL like Oligopoly Top
The Coming Latin
Clear Channel Monopoly Practices Expected to Grow
The Hispanic Broadcasting Company (HBC), the leading Spanish-language radio network in the United States with 63 stations, and Univision Communications, the leading Spanish-language television broadcast company and a major Latino music label, became a combined company controlling almost 70% of the Spanish language advertising in the United States. Univision owned the Univision and TeleFutura TV networks, the Galavision cable channel, 50 television stations nationwide, a record label and an Internet site. HBC's largest shareholder was Clear Channel.
On September 22, 2003, the FCC approved Univision Communications Inc.'s $3.1 billion purchase of HBC, allowing the nation's largest Spanish-language media conglomerate to grow bigger still. The Republican-dominated Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to accept the deal, with the two FCC Democrats contending the merger would hurt competition and limit news and entertainment choices for Spanish-speaking Americans.
Both Univision and Clear Channel are unapologetically pro President Bush in their news programs and talk shows. Particularly ironic for the country's largest minority, neither company head is Latin, although both are prominent politically active white Republicans. More coverage in Aforum.
Hispanic Media in the News
Learn more about
Latin media in the SF Bay Area here:
Another Major Force: TV Azteca
TV Azteca (TVA) operats two national broadcast networks in Mexico through 554 owned and operated stations. It has expanded to the US through Azteca America Network, with 38 stations that cover 78% of the US Hispanic population. Azteca also owns a music company, Azteca Music, Internt Portal todito.com and the Monarcas Morelia soccer team. Around 70% of the US Hispanic market, nearly 33 million viewers or 11.5%
of the total US population, has its origins in Mexico where Azteca owns and operates its many stations.
Hispaniconline.com is an excellent source for Hispanic-related news.
| Web Music and Copyright Protection:
Lawsuits against P2P Users and the Growing Legal Download Market Top
Napster was just the beginning. P2P Music Downloads have continued through services like Kazaa, Grokster & Morpheus. In turn, the RIAA has responded with a barrage of lawsuits in an effort to chill the illegal download trend. This has led to the rise of legal download sites -- or are P2P users learning how to better operate under the radar?
We'll keep track of developments here as the legal wars are waged, and new download patterns emerge. Check in for links to free downloads and learn how to protect yourself.
Why is the RIAA suing individual music listeners? from Whatsthedownload.com -- The RIAA first tried to shut down the two main companies that distribute the file-sharing software programs: Grokster and Morpheus. But because the software itself is not illegal - only using the software to trade copyrighted materials without permission is illegal - a judge ruled that the companies couldn't be held liable for copyright infringement, even if the people who used their software were illegally swapping songs. However, this case is on appeal, and as discussed in P2P Rewind , is currently being deliberated by the courts. Meanwhile, the RIAA began suing individual file swappers.
But they didn't sue just any ol' downloaders. The lawsuits were aimed at people who stored a large number of music files on their computers for others to download. On average, the people who were sued each made more than 1,000 music files available to other users on P2P networks such as Kazaa. One swapper had shared more than 3,000 files!
More in the Aforum, including info on how to protect yourself, how to change the law, and the argument for legal downloading. We'll also continue to add articles and discussions about this key music industry issue.
Resources and advice for downloading music:
Steve Allen: Provides links to free downloads, and a big list of MP3 sites, online music stores and file sharing programs.
| Technology Trends: Copy Protection
Do new security measures violate fair use laws? Top
Battles over copyright protection aren't only being fought over P2P networks. In an effort to stem music piracy, many CDs are now copy protected, preventing users from "rip and burn" tactics. However, this has angered many consumers who expect to be able to copy songs to personal playlists and mp3 players.
And it's not just the inconvenience of being unable to copy a song for your personal use: there have been many issues with these copy-protected CDs not playing in certain players, especially car stereos. Not exactly the best may to win back music fans who have turned away from CD purchases. Companies like Australia's EMI are 'fessing up to the problems in their technology, but it may be a case of too little too late for angry listeners.
So what now? There has been major backlash against the music industry, with many consumers angrily returning their CDs as "faulty." The next step may be to develop technologies allowing for a limited number of copies. But then, what's to prevent someone from simply duplicating that first copied file? And for that matter, programs like Audio Hijack and Wiretap allow users to record any sound playing through their computer. This seems like a battle the music industry will have a tough time winning.
You can find complete articles on this topic in the Technology Trends section in Aforum.
Fair use doctrine hinges on four issues: 1. if the use is commerical or nonprofit and educational 2. the nature of the copyrighted work 3. the amount of the copyrighted item used 4. the effect on the commerical value of the work
|Big Media Takeover & USA Congress Top|
"Radio consolidation has contributed to a 34 percent decline in the number of owners, a 90 percent rise in the cost of advertising rates, [and] a rise in indecent broadcasts. If ever there were a cautionary tale, this is it."
Want to know how company's like Clear Channel have come to dominate the landscape? A good place to start is taking a look at the FCC. Far from regulating monopolies, corporate-friendly chairmen like Michael Powell (the man who once stated that he didn't "know the public interest even means") have created a cozy setup for the big boys.
But the pendulum my be swinging back in the direction of public interest. On June 24, 2004, a federal appeals court on largely reversed a landmark set of FCC regulations that would have allowed companies to own more radio and television stations in the same market. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia was a major victory for public interest groups that had opposed the measures, and was hailed by two of the FCC commissioners who had opposed the rule changes.
"This is a complete repudiation of rules that would allow one or two media giants to dominate the most important sources of local news and information in almost every community in America," said Gene Kimmelman, senior public policy director for Consumers Union.
FCC chairman Michael Powell called the court's decision "deeply troubling" and said it "hampers the flexibility of the agency to protect the American public." What exactly is he trying to protect the American public from, one wonders...
For the full story, as well as reactions by consumer groups, check out the FCC/Big Media section in Aforum.
More FCC/Big Media News Stories:
"This Commission's drive to loosen the rules and its reluctance to share its proposals with the people before we voted awoke a sleeping giant. American citizens are standing up in never-before-seen numbers to reclaim their airwaves and to call on those who are entrusted to use them to serve the public interest." --
The New Censorship 6/22/04, by Bob McCannon, Albuquerque Tribune Five huge, global media corporations control about 90 percent of the world's information. Each is a vertically integrated monopoly with film studios, TV stations, concert venues, billboards, Internet, comic books, cable systems, satellite connections, newspapers, radio stations, magazines, video games and book publishers. A typical media giant controls thousands of companies...
The People's Media Reaches More People Than FOX Does 6/15/04, by Jim Hightower for Commondreams.org A 2000 Survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that a third of local reporters admit softening a news story on behalf of the interests of their media organizations ...
Lots more articles on this important topic in FCC/Big Media Archives .
Big Media Watch Resources:
futureofmusic.org an attempt both to address pressing music / technology issues, and to serve as a voice for musicians and citizens in Washington, DC. musicianslobby.com high ranking google pages on subject
|Low Powered FM and Web Radio Top|
The 1999 guidelines for LPFM was an attempt to counterbalance the extraordinary radio consolidation that occurred following the 1996 Telecommunications Act by then FCC chairman William Kennard. Kennard wished to resolve long-standing disputes with existing stations and also establish hundreds of low-power radio stations across the country that would be noncommercial, on the fringes of the dial, and cover a radius of a mile or two at the most, strictly neighborhood operations. Unfortunately, this is seen as a threat by big media and only a sustained groundswell of constituent opposition will keep their lobbyists from eventually winning the war.
There may be hope yet: a recent study of low powered radio has showed the claims of interference made by Big Media have been greatly exaggerated. In July, Senators McCain and Leahy introduced the Low Power Radio Act of 2004 to end the blackout of LPFMs in urban areas. It could clear the way for as many as 1,000 new stations. Read more about it in the LPFM/Web Radio Forum.
We'lll track the battle for LPFM, as well as the growing popularity of web-based radio. Can either of these mediums break the stranglehold of Big Media? Stay tuned, and read about past and ongoing battles in the LPFM/Web Radio forum ...
Resources for LPFM and democratization of the airwaves:
The Prometheus Radio Project is a not-for-profit association dedicated to the democratization of the airwaves through the proliferation of non-commercial, community based, micro power radio stations.
"If ever there was a special interest, it's the giant media corporations. They manage America's perceptions of their activities using the very airwaves they control. These are the wrong sorts of groups to give so much power over what Americans see and hear about their world."
LPFM and Web Rad io Stations:
Live365 Thousands of free stations created by music fans.
SomaFM Listener sponsored radio out of SF with ambient, breakbeats, IDM and indie rock.
RadioTower Promises links to thousands of radio stations anda free online guide.
Live-Radio.net claims to have the largest radio directory on the Internet.
A Google Search for "Internet Radio" yields a ton of choices.
Author Chris Coomey's picks:
www.digitallyimported.com electronic lover's paradise
http://www.epitonic.com indie jazz, fold IDM Create and store your own playlists
www.kexp.org "king of public radio stations from Seatttle. Renowned for breaking bands
www.sterolab.co.uk/radio a better band stream
www.wilcoworld.net/ghost where Yankee Hotel Foxtrot caught momentum
|RESOURCE & LINKS LIST Top|
The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) (Oakland, CA). a national membership organization of community-oriented, non-commercial radio stations
Media Activist Groups
Google Search Clear+Channel+"Department+of+Justice"+Berman
Rep. Berman's Letter Full Text - http://www.house.gov/berman/cc_012202.htm
Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - http://www.fcc.gov/
|What you can do: Top|
This major "McDonaldization" of media and music entertainment leaves little room for dissenting voices on the left or on the noncorporate right. Not surprisingly, this story, which began in 1996, has largely gone unreported by the big media who would expect to benefit from decreased competition.
Allowing big media's inevitably slanted viewpoint of the news and musical poets to dominate is not acceptable in a free Democratic society. Yet we clearly do find ourselves on this slippery slope of corrupting power. The full costs are hard to measure since the result is not only general cynicism but the loss of faith in the leadership and the future.
Having read this far, you can see how powerful google is in sorting out the truth from dissenting views. The movement of eyeballs from paper to a screen controlled by the knowledge of the viewer is rather momentous in the history of the media. Yet most of your sources are likely on the shaky foundation of little supporting income. Please try to find ways to contribute to your favorite web sites before they go cobweb.
There are also the more traditional acts like getting involved by writing Washington DC or taking an active interest in seeing that your representative is aware of your views or replaced with someone who does serve the people.
San Francisco Liberation Radio is a microradio station serving San Francisco neighborhoods to the north and east of Twin Peaks, including western Oakland and Berkeley, and streaming worldwide via the Internet. A volunteer operation since 1993, SFLR broadcasted 7 days a week until the station was seized by the FCC in October 2003.
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Last update: JULY 2004