Virgin, Soma, and Our Space

Virgin Records... Now the Virgin Group: from music to beverages, airlines, trains, games, consumer electronics, financial services, films, internet, cable TV, cosmetics, jewellery, house wares, mobile phones, and now spaceships too i.e. see SpaceShipTwo, whose first test “drop flight” occurred on Oct 10. 
Since NASA and the U.S. government can no longer afford to commercialize space, reaching that next frontier in
humankind’s profit potential is now left up to a massive empire with intensely far-reaching limbs built out of an industry which is now far from being their primary focus.

Virgin’s record division is now owned by EMI—they also own the Capitol Music Group—which is now wholly owned by UK’s mega Terra Firma Capital Partners (homes, defense, gas, energy/utilities, alcohol, betting... you name it). TFCP is a Normura Group (Japan) investment, which also owns shares in everything from electronics to gas to electricity to banks to... 

Entertainment is big business with an insane profit margin; successful entertainment necessitates big bucks.  And at the level produced by such companies, don’t be fooled, it’s packaged and sold to us like any other consumer good, be it a pair of jeans, frozen peas or toilet cleaner.  
Of course this isn’t to say that the product can afford to be totally devoid of some form of inherent worth—although giants like EMI, Time-Warner, et al. do all that they may to influence and manipulate audience interests and trends, the act of “pleasing the masses” still remains a greatly fickle, incalculable business.  Sure there are clear formulas, Pop culture is proof of this, but that yesterday’s nobody may be today’s superstar and end up being tomorrow’s washout still relies on innumerable uncontrollable variables. 
But these seem to be diminishing, the gap between the immeasurable and predictable disappearing as the science progresses and their investments spill into all areas, penetrating deep into all other industries.
As such, these corporations seem to be able to exert far greater control on our likes and dislikes by marginalizing “culture” and quickly buying out any trend or meme that explodes in full view, milking it for all its worth.
After all, "one-hit wonders" is really a by-product of the mass-recording and distribution revolution unleashed by major labels, exploited by Television, and immortalized by the Internet.

And as we focus all our anger towards governments and particular types of corporations, spitting venom on the evils we perceive, we willingly allow others to get outrageously rich, exercise an exponentially growing control on us and on all facets of our personal lives, our environment, and now space, too.  What's left? 

Why do we allow it? Rather than frown on these all-pervasive empires, we seem to glorify them, allowing anything to slip under their logo because the products we associate with them make us happy by, ironically, enabling us to quickly and effortlessly escape those perceived evils.  

Is today’s Soma tomorrow’s government? 

Keep on clicking! 

 © 2010, Pascal-Denis Lussier 

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