Little Labels: Dreaming of musical gold

Dreaming of musical gold

From the viewing audience (65 million in the U.S. alone) to its stars (Tina Turner, Bruce Springsteen), nearly everything about last week's Grammy Awards ceremony was oversize. The whole business, in fact, is Big Enterprise at work. About 85% of the U.S. record industry is controlled by six mega-diskeries: CBS, Warner, RCA, MCA, Capitol and PolyGram. Even so, 20 of last week's 67 % Grammys were won by the products of such offbeat labels as Arhoolie, Top Hits, Reunion and Delos. These names represent the recording business's vibrant flip side, a growing industry of as many as 2,000 small, independent companies.

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