Grammy Awards Come at Tumultuous Time for Today's Music Industry

THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 19, 1999 | Go to article overview

Grammy Awards Come at Tumultuous Time for Today's Music Industry


NEW YORK (AP) -- Wednesday's Grammy Awards will give the executives who run the music industry some rare moments of peace.

The business that decides what music people will hear is going through tumultuous times, with bottom line-enforced consolidation coming just when new technologies are opening up unimagined frontiers. If things could only be as simple as sitting back for a few hours and listening to Lauryn Hill or Celine Dion.

At the very least, fewer executives will be looking for Grammy tickets this year. Instead, many are looking for jobs because of massive retrenchment being caused by Seagram's purchase of Polygram. Many of the industry's well-known music companies -- Motown, A&M, Geffen, Mercury, MCA, Island, Interscope -- are being folded into the larger Universal Music Group. The big-name musical acts under this umbrella, like U2, Sheryl Crow, Nine Inch Nails and Boyz II Men, are expected to survive. But there are reports that as many as 200 artists will be cut adrift, left without a company to manufacture, distribute and promote their music. Increasingly, the industry is being dominated less by freethinking executives who follow their instincts in signing and developing musical acts and more by companies ruled by Wall Street earnings reports. …

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