Music has faced some terrible things in its time.
The second act of Peter Andre's career.
Paul Weller chumming up with Noel Gallagher.
The invention of the banjo.
But now, according to George Martin, it is facing its biggest challenge yet.
Er, the takeover of EMI:
Sir George has claimed the deals will hand both Sony and Universal a “virtual monopoly”.Given that the majors act as a cartel anyway, and that there's precious little difference between having three clown cars drive over your foot, compared with having four, it's hard to see what difference it makes.
“I am saddened that great companies have been swallowed up by the giants, and the domination of the recording and music publishing industry by Sony and Universal can only lead to a virtual monopoly in the European market. Is this what the people want?” he asked. “I always thought that democracy ensured a level playing field for our music industry, but I am wrong.”
If Martin had piped up years ago - earlier on in the consolidation process - maybe he'd be a voice worth listening to; perhaps when Sony swallowed BMG, or more usefully when Polygram and MCA became one.
If Martin really wanted to "democracy" to save EMI, perhaps he should have been a little less quiet as the music industry started to be dominated by global conglomerates whose power and reach tended to go beyond or around that of nation states.
Or he could have suggested that the IFPI and RIAA appeared to be little more than a large company's club which forced the music industry to be run for their convenience rather than the good of the artists or the music fan.
But it looks almost as if Martin's worry is that democracy is taking away EMI, rather than any genuine concerns about plurality in the record business.
But it couldn't be that, could it?
[Tahnks to Michael M]