Brussels, 15th May
Earlier today the European Commission gave its regulatory approval of the sale of the Parlophone Group (PLG) to Warner Music Group (WMG).
Officially recognising the role of IMPALA and Merlin's agreement in strengthening the independent sector, the EC regulator has now competed its review process concerning the sale of EMI.
IMPALA and Merlin will continue to implement their agreement with WMG, including a series of measures designed to strengthen the sector as announced on 19 February.
The agreement will allow independent record labels that are members of IMPALA and/or Merlin to buy, license or distribute a significant portion of PLG assets or their equivalent in WMG-owned assets.
It will also, via strong behavioural commitments and capacity-building intiatives from WMG, help to rebalance the recorded music market dominated by the stronger than ever duopoly made of Universal and Sony Music.
Helen Smith, Executive chair, IMPALA, commented: "This marks the beginning of a new chapter for independent labels and their artists."
IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent European independent music companies. One of IMPALA's missions is to keep the music market as open and competitive as possible. IMPALA has an impressive record on competition cases in the music sector. The first EMI/Warner merger was withdrawn in 2001 following objections from the EU after IMPALA intervened, in its first year of existence. It also won a landmark judgment in 2006 in the Sony/BMG case, and when Sony acquired 30% of EMI publishing in 2012, it was at the cost of significant divestments. The biggest set of remedies proportionately ever in a merger case was secured later that year, when UMG was forced to sell two thirds of EMI records and had to accept ten years of scrutiny over the terms of its digital deals. When WMG bought Parlophone in 2013, IMPALA secured a hefty divestments package for its members. On top of mergers, IMPALA has also been involved in other anti-trust cases involving the music sector, such as the abuse complaint against YouTube in 2014 and the call for regulating unfair business practices by large online players. IMPALA has also submitted observations on Apple’s bid to acquire Shazam. See the organisation's other key achievements in IMPALA's milestones.