Thursday 2 August 2012, 13:16 | By

Future Of Music Coalition reaffirms opposition to Universal’s EMI bid

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Following that statement from the American Association Of Independent Music earlier this week, in which the indie label trade body reaffirmed its opposition to Universal’s bid to buy EMI, while also arguing that the mega-major should have to make radical concessions in the US, as in Europe, if regulators there are planning on giving the deal the go-ahead, now US artists lobby group the Future Of Music Coalition has said something very similar.

As previously reported, despite initially saying concessions would not be necessary to win regulator approval, Universal Music has now proposed the divestment of some key EMI divisions in Europe – including Parlophone and EMI/Chrysalis in the UK – in order to win approval for their big EMI deal from European Commission officials. But similar concessions have not, as yet, been discussed in the US, where the Federal Trade Commission is considering the deal.

A2IM and FMC reckon that similar concessions are now needed Stateside, though officially both remain opposed to the Universal/EMI deal outright. FMC Deputy Director Casey Rae told CMU: “It is never a comfortable thing to see musicians herded around like livestock by massive companies with a demonstrated lack of concern over how their business decisions impact the very people who make their businesses possible”.

“Allowing a single label to dominate the market to such an extent will inevitably lead to a lack of legitimate options for consumers, set artificial limits on emerging music services and diminish access and compensation opportunities for musicians and independent labels. There is no reason to believe that the remedies proposed by EMI [so far] will have any effect on these outcomes, especially considering that they do not apply to the US market. If the merger is approved on either side of the pond, it can only be seen as a step backwards in the establishment of a viable 21st century music ecosystem”.

“Historically, independent artists and labels have lacked the leverage to compete against the biggest corporate entities. More power in the hands of fewer companies means that any influence they do have will be greatly hampered. This is a betrayal of the promise of a digital marketplace where creators are compensated and fans can find the music they want. The goal of regulators in the US and abroad should be to preserve and promote competition at this crucial level”.

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