Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #241 “If Music Be the Food of Love, Munch On!” — German Corporate Control over American Music and On-line Music Distribution

MP3 One Seg­ment

1. This broad­cast updates an inves­ti­ga­tion into Ger­man cor­po­rate con­trol of Amer­i­can “opin­ion-form­ing media.”

The title of the pro­gram is derived from a key pas­sage in the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk (soft­cov­er, Nation­al Van­guard Books, copy­right 1991, ISBN# 0–937944-05‑X.) Mr. Emory believes that the book, sup­pos­ed­ly a nov­el, is a blue­print for the strate­gic pol­i­cy Nazi ele­ments are cur­rent­ly pur­su­ing. In this regard, it would resem­ble The Turn­er Diaries, also pub­lished by Nation­al Vanguard–the pub­lish­ing arm of the Nation­al Alliance, the most impor­tant Amer­i­can Nazi orga­ni­za­tion. The Turn­er Diaries was the mod­el for Tim­o­thy McVeigh & Co. in the Okla­homa City Bomb­ing, as well as the Nazi group The Order. In Ser­pen­t’s Walk, the descen­dants of Hitler’s SS take over the Unit­ed States in the mid-21st cen­tu­ry, after going under­ground, build­ing up their eco­nom­ic strength, and gain­ing con­trol over the Amer­i­can media.

2. This process is described in one of the book’s key pas­sages. “About ten years ago, we swing a merg­er, a takeover, and got vot­ing con­trol of a super­corp that runs a small but sig­nif­i­cant chunk of the Amer­i­can media. Not open­ly, with bands and trum­pets. . . . but qui­et­ly, one huge cor­po­ra­tion cud­dling up to anoth­er one and gen­tly munch­ing it up, like a great, gub­bing amoe­ba.” (Ser­pen­t’s Walk, p. 42.)

3. Bor­row­ing from Shake­speare’s famous quote “if music be the food of love, play on,” the pro­gram hybridizes The Bard’s pas­sage with the “munch­ing” process allud­ed to in Ser­pen­t’s Walk. FTR-241 focus­es pri­mar­i­ly on the Ber­tels­mann fir­m’s posi­tion in the music busi­ness. “Munch­ing up” on-line music firms and form­ing alliances with oth­ers, the fir­m’s BMG sub­sidiary is the sec­ond-largest record­ing com­pa­ny in the world. (San Fran­cis­co Exam­in­er, 5/7/2000, p. B‑1.)

4. Ber­tels­mann dis­missed Arista Records chief Clive Davis from his posi­tion at the helm of the firm he found­ed. (The Los Ange­les Times, 5/3/2000, p. C6.)

5. In Ser­pen­t’s Walk, the SS cap­i­tal orga­ni­za­tion accom­plish­es the trans­for­ma­tion of the com­pa­nies it “munch­es up” by “replac­ing exec­u­tives, push­ing some­body out here, bring­ing some­body else in there.” (Ser­pen­t’s Walk, p. 42.)

6. Davis is being men­tioned as the poten­tial head of a new joint-ven­ture with BMG, a pos­si­ble move that has not qui­et­ed the furor over his ouster. (Los Ange­les Times, 6/28/2000, p. C5.)

7. After not­ing that a judge ruled against the MP3.com firm in a suit brought against the com­pa­ny by BMG and oth­er music giants (The Wall Street Jour­nal, 5/1/2000, p. A3), the dis­cus­sion turns to two deals con­clud­ed by BMG on the same day.

8. Seat­tle firm Real­Net­works Inc., a soft­ware man­u­fac­tur­er for pub­lish­ing and access­ing inter­net audio and video, announced an agree­ment with Ber­tels­mann sub­sidiary Arista to obtain exclu­sive inter­net rights for that com­pa­ny’s artists (for a lim­it­ed peri­od of time.) (The Los Ange­les Times, 5/1/2000, p. C6.)

9. On the same day, BMG made pub­lic an agree­ment with Click­Ra­dio Inc., an inter­net radio ser­vice, to give that com­pa­ny rights to BMG’s entire cat­a­log of artists. (The New York Times, 5/1/2000, p. C6.)

10. Ulti­mate­ly, BMG and MP3.com nego­ti­at­ed a com­pen­sato­ry arrange­ment for the on-line access­ing of CD’s. (Finan­cial Times, 6/10–11/2000, p. 1.)

11. BMG struck a deal with Music-Bank to access CD’s on-line. (San Jose Mer­cury News, 6/9/2000, p. C6.)

12. A ven­ture-cap­i­tal sub­sidiary of Ber­tels­mann AG owns a minor­i­ty share in Music-Bank. (The Wall Street Jour­nal, 7/26/2000, p. C14.)

13. In addi­tion, BMG has pur­chased CD Now, anoth­er on-line music sell­er. (Finan­cial Times, 7/21/2000, p. 18.)

14. Ber­tels­mann had ear­li­er tried to obtain CD Now through its joint ven­ture with Uni­ver­sal Music (Getmusic.com.) (The Wall Street Jour­nal, 7/20/2000, p. B1.)

15. Ber­tels­mann is merg­ing its e‑commerce activ­i­ties into a sin­gle enti­ty, empha­siz­ing its shift in strat­e­gy toward pro­vid­ing inter­net con­tent. (Finan­cial Times, 6/5/2000, p.21.)

16. The pro­gram high­lights the up-and-com­ing Ger­man music firm Edel’s alliance with Rup­pert Murdoch’s News Corp. (The Wall Street Jour­nal, 5/23/2000, p. B12.)

17. The broad­cast con­cludes with review of Ber­tels­mann his­to­ry. Ber­tels­mann patri­arch Hein­rich Mohn was in the SS and the firm was the largest pub­lish­er of books for the SS and Wehrma­cht dur­ing World War II (The Nation, 12/28/98).

18. The pro­gram also reviews the polit­i­cal views of the com­pa­ny’s offi­cial his­to­ri­an, Dirk Baven­damm. In books pub­lished in 1983, 1993 and 1998, Baven­damm blamed World War II on Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt, “U.S. impe­ri­al­ism,” and the “Jew­ish-con­trolled” U.S. media, which, he said, gave a dis­tort­ed view of Hitler. Baven­damm also said that Hitler’s pol­i­cy toward the Jews was made nec­es­sary by FDR’s war-like poli­cies toward Ger­many. Like the oth­er broad­casts in this sequence, the mate­r­i­al in this pro­gram should be reflect­ed on against the back­ground of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion. (Record­ed on 7/30/2000.)


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