Brussels - 28th February 2012
As Sony finally notifies its deal to acquire EMI music publishing, IMPALA confirmed its opposition, warning that the deal would give Sony excessive power and should be blocked.
The concerns raised by the European Commission the last time it looked at music publishing concentration centered around the ability of large publishers to control prices and other terms, even in negotiations with much bigger players such as iTunes. This is because they control so much repertoire, making them an indispensable trading partner. These concerns are likely to have even more relevance today.
The independents are also concerned that the deal would give Sony too much power over collecting societies as well as vital industry negotiations, such as the Cannes Agreement, which sets operating terms for societies. They also point out that the deal would reinforce the duopoly effect with Universal, who itself is currently under regulatory scrutiny over its attempt to buy EMI on the recording side.
Helen Smith, Executive Chair, said: "However this deal is structured in terms of finance and ownership, the result is the same - Sony would increase its negotiating power to an unacceptable extent. We expect the regulators to block both Sony and Universal's bid to buy EMI."
IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent independent music companies. 99% of Europe’s music companies are SMEs. Known as the “independents”, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists - they produce more than 80% of all new releases. SME’s also produce 80% of Europe’s jobs. Their potential is enormous but is hampered by complex barriers to trade and severe market access problems. The impact on diversity, consumer choice and pluralism is clear. Over 95% of what most people hear and see, whether on radio, retail or the internet, is concentrated in the hands of four multinationals, known as the majors.
Cultural and creative SMEs are now officially recognised by the EU as “the drivers of growth, job creation and innovation”. IMPALA expects the EC and its member countries to put in place key investment, digital and market access measures. Fostering Europe's economy of culture and diversity is one of the EU's top priorities in becoming the world's leading knowledge economy. Culture is a bigger earner than any of chemicals, automobiles or ICT manufacturing and provides more than 3% of Europe's jobs. IMPALA has its own award schemes to help promote cultural diversity and new talent and highlight the artistic contribution of independent music. IMPALA award winning artists include Efterklang, Adele, Manu Chao, Radiohead, Agnes Obel, Caro Emerald and Sigur Ros.