Indies To Protest Universal-BMG

Europe’s leading indie music organization held a pow-wow in Paris to plan the best tactics to use in its opposition to Universal Music buying BMG’s publishing interests.

The November 8th Impala board meeting at the offices of Naïve Records, attended by Patrick Zelnik, Martin Mills, Hein van der Ree and Horst Weidenmueller, decided to consult with all members and consider their responses to the proposed joining of two of the world’s largest music publishers.

Impala is looking at its members’ concerns in terms of further damage to competition in recorded music and publishing as well as prejudice in terms of collecting societies, online licensing, synchronization markets, and the restrictive impact on songwriters and artists.

The European Union and several countries’ departments of justice and national competition authorities have asked for the indies’ input.

The independents take the view that Universal/BMG Music Publishing is likely to be blocked, and that the two companies’ claims to be relatively small major publishers are misleading.

In July, the European Court of First Instance set tough precedents as Impala succeeded in overturning the EC’s approval of the Sony BMG merger in recorded music.

In the attempted EMI/Warner merger of 2000, the EC had already concluded that further concentration in publishing could not be tolerated.

Impala’s consultation exercise will be completed by mid-November and will cover members and member associations in all key European territories. It will then submit its conclusions to the European Commission.

– John Gammon