photo: Marthijn Uittenbogaard
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Sony, Universal and Warner Music

© 18 November 2016 Marthijn Uittenbogaard
Last week I bought Sony's Playstation Pro. I spent a lot of time in gaming, maybe too much. I bought the new Playstation in the Media Markt. This electronics shop also sponsors the Dutch music Top 40. While I was in the shop I took a folder with the most recent Top 40 with me. The Top 40 is sponsored by Media Markt for many years now. Before Media Markt was the sponsor the dutch bank Rabobank was the sponsor. There was a time that there was not a commercial company sponsoring this chart. It was just the Top 40. This music chart started in 1965 after a famous DJ from radio station Veronica took inspiration by the US charts and the British charts: we had not such a thing yet.

In early 1984 I was 11 years old. I almost never listened to the radio. My friend at school said to me: you don't know any song which is popular. I thought maybe I should try it out and turned on the radio at home. In the local newspaper Leidsch Dagblad - which I almost never read - was once a week the publication of the Top 40 (as in many other newspapers). I started to collect this chart. With scissors I cut it out of the newspaper every week and I glued it in a notebook. In no time I knew every song in the charts. I even made my own charts for a while based on the times I heard a song on the radio. Now in 2016 I still am interested in the charts. I write it down - yes, with a pen on paper - in a notebook. Why? It's on the internet, the whole archive and every new one too. Don't ask me why.

The Dutch music Top 40 also publishes the Global Top 40. I saw this list on the folder I took with me from the Media Markt. Who is at number one? It's the song Closer by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey. They are under contract by Sony Music. So Sony has the number one. At number two there is DJ Snake with Justin Bieber. This song is from Universal Music. And at number three Heathens by Twenty One Pilots. And this song is from Warner Music. That's nice, when you as a music company have a song that is high in the charts. I remember many music companies from the eighties and some were small, others large ones. But no company dominated the charts.

At number four in the Global Top 40 we see a song from Universal Music. At number five: Universal Music. At number six: Sony Music. At number seven: Warner Music. At eight and nine: Universal Music. Number ten is for Sony Music.

Eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen: Universal Music. Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen: Sony Music. Eighteen: Universal Music. 19, 20, 21: Sony. 22, 23, 24: Warner. 25: Universal. 26: Warner. 27, 28: Sony. 29: Warner. And at number 30 it's XL Recordings. This is the only non-Sony, Warner or Universal song in the charts because 31-40 is also by the dominating three.

The Dutch charts is slightly different from the Global Charts but most song popular world wide are in there too. 29 songs in this chart are by Sony, Warner or Universal Records. I guess these three companies have the popular radio stations in their pockets.

Is there much diversity in the songs played by these radio stations? Are there many songs nowadays that have a political message? No, there is not much room for diversity. Not much room for even an opinion in a song.

If the charts say something about the state of the country then that would mean there is not much room for diversity. You can read fascism in the charts.
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