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Day by day, the book publishing industry contracts further into the “monopolistic singularity” of Penguin Random House. Hollywood is too pandemic-battered to resist the superhero franchises’ deathgrip on funding. And who even knows what’s going on with music any more: The “pop” commercial model has aerosolized into a million individual influencers, with managers and a handful of massive corporations just behind them catching money in butterfly nets. Alex Shephard and Jo Livingstone have been colleagues as staff writers at The New Republic for a number of years, where their coverage of politics and the arts have frequently led them to the big business that funds entertainment in America, to report on its crisis moments. They’ll talk about the latest antitrust lawsuits brought against Amazon, the new wave of labor organizing in the entertainment industries, and trends in the literature, music, and film of consolidation.