hether bottling liquor in 1857, introducing the compact disc to the world in 1982 or raping Kurt Cobains dead body in 2002, Universal Music Groups first priority has always been the welfare and creative vision of the folks responsible for the companys success: the investor. A long-running and frightfully successful experiment in growth and efficiency, Universal Music (Interscope/Geffen/A&M, Island Def Jam Music Group, MCA Nashville, MCA Records, Universal Classics, Universal Motown Records, Universal Music Enterprises, and Verve Music Group) is the most successful music manufacturing entity on the planet.
But as parental and overseeing as Universal seems, the company is really just a child, the bouncing, gurgling bastard result of the 1998 marriage between Seagrams and Philips, two companies that know a thing or two about good light bulbs. I mean wine coolers. I mean music. Yeah. Music. In 1998, Philips owned Mercury (since 1960) and Polygram (since 1987). At the time, Polygram also included Verve, Island, A&M, Mowtown and Def Jam. Seagrams had only been involved in the music industry for three years when they acquired Polygram in 1998. In 1995, Seagrams purchased 80% of MCA from renowned music lovers Matsushita Electrical Industrial Company. At that time, MCA also included Chess and Geffen. In 1996, in their final acquisition before engulfing Polygram, Seagrams also picked up 50% of Interscope.
Mergers, numbers and stocks fuelled the formation of Universal, and now theyre fuelling the decisions made by the Groups label heads. Unaware of or unconcerned by their constituent labels rich musical heritage, Universal is not afraid to ignore or flat out horse-fuck interesting bands. Through their ties to Eminem, Fred Durst and Shania Twain, they have also cornered the market on bad hip-hop, glam country and rape-metal. Most impressive, however is how Universal continues to generate profits in the billions, pressing their own c.d.s (and l.p.s) in their own plants where economies of scale and fixed overhead costs dictate that per unit costs should not increase, but they still manage to raise the base price of most of their stock every year.Any employee who has ever wondered, What if we lowered our prices? has apparently been fired.
The Groups future is limitless. Unrestrained by integrity or musical knowledge of any kind, UMG is poised to strengthen their grasp on the music industry, dictating your idiot cousins taste in music for years to come.
Past: Nirvana, James Brown, Hank Williams, The Velvet Underground, Bob Marley, The Who, John Coltrane, The Cure, Jimi Hendrix, Tom Waits, Dr. Dre, Stevie Wonder.
Future: Afroman, Nelly, Jimmy Eat World, Shaggy, Sum 41, Shania Twain, Godsmack, Bubba Sparxxx, Eminem, Metallica, Puddle of Mudd
By: Clay Jarvis
Published on: 2003-09-01