The recorded music industry is essential to the music industries. With the internationalization of the recording industry, many record companies of European and America have been restructured, merged. However, the large transnational record companies with abundant capital still have influential power which not only have large market share, creative resources including singers, music producers, songwriter, etc., and attempt to monopolize recording industries in small or developing countries.
In 2010, the Big Four shared 76.8 per cent of the global market in physical and digital recorded music sales, with Universal Music Group having the greatest market share, followed by Sony Music, Warner, and EMI (Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D., 2013). These transnational record companies have established their branches in Taiwan, have no doubt laid the foundation for the development of the music industry, but have also changed the ecosystem of Taiwan’s original record industry. For instance, the arrangement of foreign songs with Chinese language lyrics has appeared, and also gradually impact the form of music in Taiwan and become westernization. The major recording companies are not only horizontally integrated, which means they have expanded their businesses by merging with other record companies (Negus, 1999), they are also vertically integrated which means that they own many corporations specializing in other areas such as pressing plants and distribution companies in the music industries. This integrated business model makes them retain control over as many aspects of the production chains (Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D. 2013).
Diing(1999) argues that to find out why Taiwan’s record industry has been internationally monopolized, it must trace back to the 1980s when the international economic and political power had imported into Taiwan. These power has led by United States of America, GATT- WTO and international record groups. The models of there intrusive procedure are described as following:
- International record companies actively collaborated with local record companies.
- By means of strong international trade and economic means launched by GATT-WTO, directly forced Taiwanese government rebuild the international intellectual property system according to their instructions and request to open the market.
- International record companies were allowed to set up branch offices in Taiwan, the implementation of localization policy, a large number of domestic record companies to absorb music talent and well-known artists, and further control of the country’s production of music culture. In the longer term, the localization strategy of the multinational records group is to make profits from the “Greater China Market” with enormous economic value. In other words, the purpose of localization is not to respond to local cultural development, but to the potential commercial interests.
When the transnational music record groups have become the core leader of the music market in Taiwan, it is meaningless to directly intervene in the monopoly of the multinational record companies and the infiltration of the music culture. Relatively speaking, I think our government should actively take some policies, discern what the problem are and promote local music culture as hard as possible, pay more attention to local popular music education, music activities and festivals, and actively support the local record company which creative diversity music products to compete with transnational company.
- Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D. (2013).Understanding the music industries. London: SAGE.
- Nugus, K. (1999). Music Genres and Corporate Cultures. London:Routledge.
- Diing, Liu-Shih (1999). [on line]A Historical Analysis of Transnational Recording Corporations. Available at: http://handle.ncl.edu.tw/11296/ndltd/28435784645508664124