The scorecard for control of the arts and media is:
INDIES, less than ever.
Let’s go category by category and see who controls it – Corporate art or Indy art.
Media – Corporate Art. Corporate owns the bulk of tv, and radio. They have way too much influence on the FCC; and NPR, with revenue sharing, won’t give a tough review. Indies can’t get coverage or reviews; and have little coverage on any tv or radio. Indies can rarely even get a radio station on the internet let alone on the air.
Newspapers – Corporate Art. They own all the chains and will only review art by their corporate art advertisers. Hardly any indy art is ever mentioned let alone reviewed. Local art coverage is small to non existent while Hollywood press releases fill the entertainment and business sections.
Film – Corporate Art. They own the theater chains and the movie companies. Indies can make films but they can’t get them in theaters, or on tv.
Broadway – Corporate Art. Broadway is strictly for tourists and filled with large safe corporate productions. Same with touring companies. Indy theater is off off Broadway, at best.
Music – Corporate Art. Four companies control 80% of the business. They’ve kept most indies off the radio so they can’t get sales. They also control ticket services, so its hard for Indie musicians to make more than minimum wage touring.
Publishing – Corporate Art. Bad novels rule, and bookstores demand indies jump through all kinds of hoops to even get on the back rows (example the ISBN number). Seldom do any major bookstores carry any Indy books.
Magazine and Zine Publishing. Corporate Art. The most creative new writing is zines. It best reflects the current generation. It is also blocked from fair reviews, and coverage, and distribution from most magazine distributors. Go to magazine stands and its pure corporate.
Internet – Corporate Art. Indies had the early advantage with every website being equal.That began the only golden age of art of this time. Then corporate art bought up the major spaces like myspace, youtube, search engines etc.; shut down web radio, sued downloaders etc. Indies can be found on search engines, but they are way down the list beyond the paid ad entries. Indies are being squeezed out year by year.
Government – Corporate Art. Conglomerates bypass pesky interfering governments by setting up World Trade Agreements, WTO, that support big business over countries rights, world wide.
The scorecard is not good. Time to bring fairness to the arts for all. Corporate control has ruined not only quality in the arts, but fairness. They have turned our culture into a box of soap. And it’s just as bland. Support a change.
(editor of the 17 year old zine Musea)