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For The Record  

FTR #303 If Music Be the Food of Love, Munch On! Part IV

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This program supplements an ongoing series, dating to December of 1998.

1. The title of this program derives from a passage from the Nazi tract Serpent’s Walk. Like The Turner Diaries (also published by National Vanguard Books), the book seems rather a blueprint for what is going to take place. It is a novel about a Nazi takeover of the United States in the middle of the 21st century. The book describes the Third Reich going underground, buying into the American media, and taking over the country. “It assumes that Hitler’s warrior elite – the SS – didn’t give up their struggle for a White world when they lost the Second World War. Instead their survivors went underground and adopted some of their tactics of their enemies: they began building their economic muscle and buying into the opinion-forming media. A century after the war they are ready to challenge the democrats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Americans, who have begun to have their fill of government-enforced multi-culturalism and ‘equality.'” (From the back cover of Serpent’s Walk by “Randolph D. Calverhall;” Copyright 1991 [SC]; National Vanguard Books; 0-937944-05-X.)

2. This process is described in more detail in a passage of text, consisting of a discussion between Wrench (a member of this Underground Reich) and a mercenary named Lessing. “The SS . . . what was left of it . . . had business objectives before and during World War II. When the war was lost they just kept on, but from other places: Bogota, Asuncion, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Colombo, Damascus, Dacca . . . you name it. They realized that the world is heading towards a ‘corporacracy;’ five or ten international super-companies that will run everything worth running by the year 2100. Those super-corporations exist now, and they’re already dividing up the production and marketing of food, transport, steel and heavy industry, oil, the media, and other commodities. They’re already dividing up the production and marketing of food, transport, steel and heavy industry, oil, the media, and other commodities. They’re mostly conglomerates, with fingers in more than one pie . . . . We, the SS, have the say in four or five. We’ve been competing for the past sixty years or so, and we’re slowly gaining . . . . About ten years ago, we swung a merge, a takeover, and got voting control of a supercorp that runs a small but significant chunk of the American media. Not openly, not with bands and trumpets or swastikas flying, but quietly: one huge corporation cuddling up to another one and gently munching it up, like a great, gubbing amoeba. Since then we’ve been replacing executives, pushing somebody out here, bringing somebody else in there. We’ve swing program content around, too. Not much, but a little, so it won’t show. We’ve cut down on ‘nasty-Nazi’ movies . . . good guys in white hats and bad guys in black SS hats . . . lovable Jews versus fiendish Germans . . . and we have media psychologists, ad agencies, and behavior modification specialists working on image changes.” (Ibid.; pp. 42-43.)

3. The program begins with analysis of BMG’s plans to become the top-rated music company in the world. (“BMG Waits for Second Chance to Build Music Empire” by Bertrand Benoit; Financial Times; 5/7/2001; p. 17.) (The “second chance” mentioned is a reference to BMG’s failed attempt to take over EMI—a move that would have made the Bertelsmann-dominated merged entity the number one music company. Bertelsmann has been a major focal point of this series.)

4. One of the possible moves that BMG is contemplating is an acquisition of Zomba records. (Idem.)

5. Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff has used the fact of online music distribution as a talking point in his efforts to sidestep concerns that a major acquisition by BMG would be anti-competitive. (Idem.)

6. He downplayed talk that BMG could be sold. (“Middelhoff Rules Out any Sale of Music Division” by Uta Harnischfeger; Financial Times; 5/7/2001; p. 17.)

7. The discussion turns to Zomba (20% owned by BMG). This firm was seen as a major player in the unsuccessful negotiations between Bertelsmann and EMI and may now be a takeover target of BMG. Zomba is an unusually secretive firm, its founder shunning publicity and the firm’s web site failing to give a business address or phone number! Zomba head Clive Calder is a native of South Africa (having grown up there during the Apartheid regime.)

8. “As the founder of Zomba, which over the past 20-odd years has grown into one of the world’s biggest independent music groups, Mr. Calder has been able to go about his business in relative obscurity. Mr. Calder’s assistant politely declined a request for an interview with the Financial Times, saying he was not ready to make an exception to his ‘long-standing no-interview policy.’ However, he now finds himself thrust into the spotlight as a central figure in the discussions between two of his rivals to create the world’s largest music group. . . . Close friends and associates of Mr. Calder remain intensely loyal and are uncomfortable talking about him behind his back—even if it is to pile on the compliments, of which there are many. Indeed, it is hard to find anyone with a bad word to say about this man, who has achieved a near-mythical status in the business. Perhaps that is the genius of a no-press policy. Details of his corporate history are almost as scarce. His press office keeps a tight rein on the flow of information out of the company and zealously guards his privacy. Websites for his businesses feature only the artists. There are no ‘about us’ links, not even a contact address or telephone number. So who is Clive Calder? He was born In South Africa and is now 54. He founded Zomba in London in the late 1970s, when he began a career in which he has managed stars such as Billy Ocean, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and A Tribe Called Quest. . . . He has already been drawn into the discussions between EMI and BMG because part of his own company is at stake. BMG has a 20 per cent shareholding in Zomba, which is now based in New York. . . . BMG owns the North American distribution rights for Jive, a hugely profitable label that is said to account for as much as a quarter of BMG’s revenues in the U.S. and the same proportion of its worldwide market share.” (“A Spotlight Turns on the Recluse” by Ashling O’Connor; Financial Times; 2/23/2001; p. 12.)

9. Mr. Calder’s South African genesis is interesting to contemplate in the context of his reclusive nature and the relatively secretive nature of his business. The apartheid regime of South Africa and the elite core of its governmental and commercial infrastructure (the Broederbond) have very strong historical and institutional connections to the Third Reich. The Broederbond was allied with Nazi Germany during the Second World War and a Third Reich agent, Graf Durckheim von Montmartin, was dispatched to reorganize the organization along the lines of the NSDAP (the German Nazi party.) The Broederbond and the apartheid regime remained very close to what Mr. Emory calls the Underground Reich.

10. In light of Zomba’s connection to BMG (Bertelsmann’s music division), Calder’s South African birth, the South Africa/Nazi connection and the secretive nature of Calder and his operations, it is not unreasonable to ask whether Zomba might be a Bormann company.

11. The next major topic of discussion concerns Bertelsmann’s entry into digital, online music distribution. Having spurred the move by music companies toward online distribution with its alliance with Napster, Bertelsmann developed its own music file-sharing service, called Snoopstar. (“Bertelsmann’s Secret Napster Clone” by Boris Grondahl; The Standard; 2/26/2001.)

12. Industry speculation held that, in the event that Napster failed to recover from its legal troubles, Snoopstar would become fully operational. (Idem.)

13. In connection with the Bertelsmann/Napster alliance, it is worth noting that Napster’s efforts at resolving its legal difficulties involved a “peace offer” of $1 billion to the “music majors” as compensation for pirated titles. (“Napster Makes $1 Billion Peace Offer” by Benny Evangelista; San Francisco Chronicle; 2/21/2001; pp. A1-A6.) It would not be unreasonable to suppose that Napster’s capital backing in this instance came from Bertelsmann.

14. Bertelsmann’s alliance with Napster appears to have spurred a rush to establish online distribution. BMG was among the firms that concluded a number of major deals within a very short period of time. (“Music Industry Tardy to Digital Party” by Benny Evangelista; San Francisco Chronicle; 4/9/2001; pp. B1-B3.)

15. In a single week, Bertelsmann announced deals with MusicNet and MTVi Group and RioPort.com Inc. (Idem.)

16. The CEO of Seattle-based RealNetworks credited Napster with leading the way. (“Music Pact Is the Real Deal” by Dawn C. Chmielewski; San Jose Mercury News; 4/3/2001; pp. 1C-6C.)

17. “At first blush, the alliance looks as if Napster’s biggest advocate in the recording industry—Bertelsmann—has given up on the embattled service. But insiders say the exact opposite is true: Music-Net provides a way for Napster to finally secure legitimate rights from three of the five major record labels now suing it for copyright infringement.” (Idem.)

18. “[RealNetworks CEO Ron] Glaser said MusicNet would negotiate with Napster once it can address legal, copyright and security concerns.” (Ibid.; p. 6C.)

19. The recent development of the Songbird software program may facilitate Napster’s legitimatization. (“Napster May Dance to Songbird Tune” by Ashling O’Connor; Financial Times; 5/10/2001; p. 8.)

20. Another major element of discussion concerns Vivendi, the parent company of Universal Music. Vivendi is a major French corporation, having been founded by Napoleon III as a principal government utility contractor. It was transformed into a media giant by its CEO, Jean-Marie Messier. “For nearly a century and a half, Compagnie Generale des Eaux lived under the shadow of Napoleon III, whose imperial decree created the company to manage the sewerage and waterworks of the French state. So when Jean-Marie Messier. . . became chairman in 1996, he inherited a sprawling state contractor with 2,714 subsidiaries, which did everything from pumping water through Paris to building generators in China, to supplying school canteens in Normandy, to exterminating pests in Papua New Guinea. Since then Mr. Messier has proved to be a businessman with imperial ambitions of his own. Over the past five years, he has sold out of sewerage and power and bought into music and movies, trading in the company’s 148-year history in infrastructure for an unpredictable future on the internet. Approximately $27 bn) worth of businesses have been sold, and the historic water business was split off last year. The Generale des Eaux name has been dispensed with, traded in for Vivendi—a name invented by consultants. With last year’s $34bn acquisition of Seagram, the Canadian group which owned the Universal entertainment businesses, Mr. Messier emerged as the chairman of the world’s second largest media group. . . . The old water company now touches the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world: Universal Music’s roster of stars includes Abba, Bob Marley and Eminem: Universal’s studios boast such hits as Gladiator, The Grinch and out this week is Bridget Jones’s Diary; Canal Plus is the largest pan-European pay-TV group; other business interests, such as USA Networks and Vizzavi, a joint venture portal with Vodafone, give it access to most of the developed world.” (“Ambitious Emperor Strives to Ride a Narrow Path” by James Harding and Jo Johnson; Financial Times; 4/3/2001; p. 20.)

21. Past For The Record programs have analyzed Vivendi’s situation and pointed out that French industry and finance were folded into German control during the occupation in World War II. This suggests the distinct possibility that Vivendi, too, may be a Bormann company.

22. Vivendi earlier helped to increase the pressure on Napster by forming the online distribution firm Duet. (“Vivendi and Sony Tighten the Screws on Napster with Online Music Duet” by Jo Johnson and James Harding; Financial Times; 2/23/2001; p. 17.)

23. The remainder of the broadcast is devoted to coverage of Vivendi’s growing position in the music world. (Vivendi subsidiary Universal Music is the largest music firm in the world.) Vivendi, too, has forged a number of online distribution arrangements. (“Yahoo, Universal, SONY Announce Online Music Deal” by Jon Healey; Los Angeles Times; 4/6/2001; pp.C1-C4.) (“Record Giant Universal Buys Emusic.com” by Benny Evangelista; San Francisco Chronicle; 4/10/2001; pp. C1-C2.)

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