The music promoter Mean Fiddler is set to be taken over by Irish firm Gaiety Investments and American entertainment group Clear Channel. It's a deal that still has to be approved by Mean Fiddler shareholders, but already Londonist has a bad taste in its mouth. Gaiety is a company that we know little about, but Clear Channel has a long and unpleasant history in the States of working for the dark side of the force. Salon dot com have an archive of articles regarding the harm done to the American music industry by Clear Channel and dedicated websites have sprung up to oppose the company's growing monopoly such as Clear Channel Sucks dot org.
Spend some time on American independent music websites and you'll find very little to be said in favour of the company or their business practices.
Most of the opposition to Clear Channel comes from their domination of the American airwaves, but they've also received criticism for their handling of ticket sales and promotions for concerts. One charge is that they go after the big names by offering more money to the acts involved and then pass that extra expense onto the fans through inflated ticket prices.
Also alarming is that when the deal goes through Clear Channel will partly own The Astoria along with the Reading and Glastonbury Festivals.
It's unsure as to what, if any, impact this latest American acquisition will have on the London music scene, but in a city already choked with McDonalds and Starbucks and the superstore mentality of Borders prevailing over the smaller (now mostly dead) traditional book shops we'll be keeping a close eye on what happens next.
The photo shows Henry Rollins playing at The Astoria in a benefit for the West Memphis Three