Music analyst Mark Mulligan has been thinking about the recent rows between independent labels and YouTube, as well as between book publishers (major and indie) and Amazon. He sees both as an illustration of the Innovator Hegemony – “Labels, publishers, authors and artists suddenly found themselves beholden to companies they had helped succeed and that success now used against them – and warns that market regulators aren’t helping these media companies and creators. “Amazon, Apple and Google have become a single, effective monopoly in each of their respective marketplaces,” writes Mulligan, in a strongly-worded opinion piece. “Amazon is unashamedly abusing its platform to hurt sales of book publishers such as Hachette and Bonnier, while Google is equally brazenly threatening to turn off monetization of music videos of labels that will not sign its overweening YouTube contract… These actions show us how vertically integrated platforms have a tendency to become internal de facto monopolies with effectively limitless internal power. Power that corrupts, and that ultimately turns the ideologies of these once idealistic disruptive start ups into police states where dissension is no more tolerated than it is in North Korea.” He questions whether media companies and policy makers alike “are brave enough to stand up to the Innovator Hegemony“. 2014 should provide an answer to that question.
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