The Affects of Globalization on Music
Wont you help me sing these songs of freedom?
The influence that music has throughout the world is immeasurable. Music evokes many feeling, surfaces old memories, and creates new ones all while satisfying a sense of human emotion. With the ability to help identify a culture, as well as educate countries about other cultures, music also provides for a sense of knowledge. Music can be a tool for many things: relaxation, stimulation and communication.But at the same time it can also be a tool for resistance: against parents, against police against power. Within the reign of imported culture, cross cultivation and the creation of the so-called global village lies the need to expand horizons to engulf more than just what you see everyday. It is important to note that the role of music in todays world is a key tool in the process of globalization. However, this does not necessarily provide us with any reasons that would make us believe that music has a homogenizing affect on the world.
Globalization is becoming one of the most controversial topics in todays world. We see people arguing over the loss of a nations cultural identity, the terror of westernization, and the reign of cultural imperialism. Through topics such as these we explore the possibilities or the existence of hybridization of cultures and values, and what some feel is the exploitation of their heritage.One important aspect that is not explored is that such influences can also be more than just a burden and an overstepping of bounds. These factors can create an educational environment as well as a reaffirmation of ones own culture.
With the music being the highly profitable, capitalist enterprise that it is today, it is no wonder that it is controlled and regulated by a few large conglomerates that exist is todays world. It is important to make clear that although evidence is being presented of the positive aspects of globalization through music that there is overwhelming evidence that cultural imperialism is more than it seems on the outside. One must keep in mind that cultural imperialism, globalization and the creation of a global village is a business. People are profiting at other peoples loss of cultural identity, they are sold a culture and heritage. With the every growing NSync fan clubs and Britney clones, the world is turning into a stage for pop culture and its glamorous unattainable standards.
Through the processes that this world is going through we find ourselves blurring the lines of difference that once existed. This has been referred to by Lomax as a cultural grey out. Basically what this theory says is that cultural lines are meshed together so much that is almost impossible to distinguish between them due to the fact that they have so many similar characteristics. Lomax also states that due to the widespread distribution of industrialized music and the loss of music that exemplifies cultural aspects and characteristics, civilizations are not maintaining a sense of national pride and identity. Without these distinguishing lines, Schiller states that at one time it was cultural diversity that flourished, and now we are witnessing the diffusion of such a process. He goes on to state, as well as warn, that if such a process of cultural breakdown were to keep evolving, we would have to face a global consumer monoculture.
As stated previously, it is important to realize how big of a business culture has become. Through the use of quantitative analysis we can see the control that the major conglomerates have over the distribution of music. Burnett, in empirical studies of market concentration in music (1990, 1993), reports that seven corporations together controlled no less than 50 percent of market share in any country where they had operations and up to 80 percent in some countries (1990, pp. 104-105). The seven corporations, with their nation of origin and reported 1990 sales, are: Sony (Japan, $3 billion), Time/Warner (U.S., $2.9 billion), Polygram (Netherlands/Germany, $2.6 billion), Bertelsmann Media Group (Germany, $2 billion), Thorn/EMI (U.K., $1.88 billion), MCA (U.S., $1 billion), and Virgin (U.K., $500 million), total 1990 sales $13.88 billion (1993, pp. 141-143). With number such as these it is nearly