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.
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
Thanksgiving was an interesting day for those who follow telecommunications hoo-hah. While most Americans were enjoying turkey, stuffing and football, AT&Trequested to withdraw their merger application with T-Mobile from consideration at the Federal Communications Commission. AT&T and Deutsche Telecom (T-Mobile’s parent company) instead announced plans to concentrate on Department of Justice antitrust proceedings that will go to trial in February 2012. read more
Everyone’s wallet gets light from time to time. In the late 1950s and early ‘60s, Willie Nelson was so broke, he sold the rights to several of his most well-known songs for less than what a full tank of gas would cost today. “I needed fifty dollars!” he later recalled. In hindsight, the idea of letting the rights to “Crazy” go for a paltry ten bucks seems, well, crazy. Unfortunately Congress may be on the verge of making the same sort of short-sighted mistake with its proposed plan to sell off TV broadcast spectrum as a method of raising a small amount of revenue in the short-term. read more
Washington, D.C.— Today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its intention to file suit to prevent the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T. The following statement can be attributed to Future of Music Coalition Deputy Director Casey Rae-Hunter.
“Future of Music Coalition applauds the Department of Justice for moving to block the AT&T and T-Mobile merger. We hope the FCC swiftly follows suit to preserve access and innovation in mobile communications. From competition in a crucial marketplace to jobs preservation, preventing this merger is the right thing to do. Creators and consumers alike should welcome today’s news, and we thank those in the music community for helping to illustrate what is at stake for artists and other creative entrepreneurs.” read more