London 21 September 2012
Reacting to the Federal Trade Commission’s decision to clear Universal Music's acquisition of EMI, with no conditions, Charles Caldas, CEO of Merlin has issued a statement as follows:
“This Federal Trade Commission decision is extremely disappointing, and deeply misguided. The European Commission raised a series of very significant competition issues resulting from the UMG/EMI transaction which required an extensive set of divestments and behavioural remedies, in particular with regards to limiting Universal's actions in the digital market."
“The failure of the FTC to require similar if not more stringent remedies in the US market, where most digital services originate, gives UMG an open and unbridled path to controlling the shape and nature of the digital market, ignoring the interests of US consumers in favour of the market’s most dominant player.”
Merlin is the global rights agency representing the world's most significant set of independent music companies. Merlin commenced operations in May 2008. Since then it has struck deals with a large number of digital services including Spotify, YouTube, Google Music, Rdio and Simfy and reached a number of copyright infringement settlements on behalf of its members with amongst others Limewire, XM Satellite Radio and Grooveshark. Merlin acts to ensure its members have effective access to new and emerging revenue streams and that their rights are appropriately valued and protected.
A list of Merlin's board members and further information on Merlin is available at: http://www.merlinnetwork.org/board/
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 The first EMI/Warner merger was withdrawn in 2001 following objections from the EU after IMPALA intervened, in its first year of existence.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.