Senate Subcomm To Examine EMI Deal

Irving Azoff will testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights June 21 regarding a proposed merger between Universal Music Group and EMI.

The Live Nation Entertainment chair reportedly is expected to testify in support of the $1.9 billion deal, as are Universal CEO Lucian Grainge and EMI CEO Roger Faxon.

Critics of the deal including WMG’s Edgar Bronfman, Beggars Group’s Martin Mills and Gigi Sohn of advocacy group Public Knowledge will also appear.

A recent paper by the advocacy group argued the merger would stifle competition and accused the record industry of overestimating the influence of copyright infringement, according to The Hill.

But a Universal spokesman disagreed in a statement to The Hill.

“The music industry is intensely competitive and barriers to entry have evaporated in today’s digital environment,” he wrote. “Labels cannot dictate the price in a marketplace where a handful of major retailers account for the majority of music sales. We welcome the opportunity to address the facts and do away with any myths.”

The Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission are currently conducting antitrust reviews of the deal.