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The making of a music multinational: Polygram's international businesses, 1945-1998

Bakker, Gerben (2006) The making of a music multinational: Polygram's international businesses, 1945-1998. Business History Review, 80 (1). pp. 81-123. ISSN 0007-6805

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0007680500080995


In half a century PolyGram expanded from two small Dutch and German companies to become the world's largest music multinational. It did so in the midst of a fast-changing business environment, in which relatively homogenous products and tastes gave way to differentiated outputs for segmented markets. Making use of strengths inherited from its owners Philips and Siemens, PolyGram integrated a continuous series of foreign acquisitions into one international organization while maintaining the creative identities and independence of the firms it acquired. To control and manage the resulting idiosyncratic configuration, it developed the federated form, a decentralized organizational structure that fit the shifting environment. PolyGram became what can be defined as a rightsbased multinational, and its structure showed similarities to multinationals in other rights-based industries.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2006 Harvard Business School
Divisions: Accounting
Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N8 - Micro-Business History > N84 - Europe: 1913-
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2008 11:57
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 01:38

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