Is there any evidence of investment ties between the music industry and private prisons?

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
By Seth Smalley

Allegations of ties between private-prison operators and the music business have been circulating on blogs and social media since 2012, but these have never been substantiated.

Proponents of the claim have pointed to two asset management companies, BlackRock and Vanguard Group, that invest in both industries. CNN notes that BlackRock has shares in 97.5% of the 500 most valuable companies. Given the vast scope of both groups' holdings, the mere ownership of two otherwise unrelated stocks is insufficient to prove any connection.

A recent NPR podcast noted that the conspiracy theory arising from the allegations, which surfaced in an anonymous, widely-circulated account, continues to resonate "because we search for simple answers to complicated questions." A 2018 list of top rap "conspiracy theories" termed it "one of the more pernicious myths in hip-hop history."

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