$280M Guarantee For Indies

While the indies plan their protest against EMI being split and sold to Universal and a consortium led by Sony, they can at least celebrate the setting up of a $280 million fund that guarantees their bank loans.

The money comes courtesy of the European Commission, which has previously recognised a need to support independent music companies and other smaller creative and cultural firms.

“This is an excellent initiative to address the current market failure facing independent music companies in accessing finance,” said Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA, the independent music companies organisation.

Smith called on all European Union member states to support the initiative, which needs their agreement as well as that of the European parliament.

If gaining their approval, the new scheme would see the European Investment Fund guarantee loans made by national banks to cultural and creative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The EIF was set up in 1994 as the European Union’s agency for the provision of finance to SMEs.

In return national banks will have to increase their lending activities and because they’ll be able to rely on the guarantee instead of personal assets.

There’s been no news from IMPALA’s Brussels HQ regarding the board meeting scheduled for the first week in December, when the sale of EMI was expected to be high on the agenda.

In the case of Universal, the European Commission ordered the Vivendi-owned company to sell off assets when it bought BMG’s publishing.

Smith said she wouldn’t be surprised if the European regulatory authority “stops Universal and Sony in their tracks.”