Even though the remaining EMI assets have gone to another major label, the indie community – much of which opposed the sale of the EMI businesses to Sony and Universal – has generally welcomed today’s news that Warner Music is to acquire the Parlophone Label Group. Indie support for the deal is based on the principle that a stronger Warner will provide more competition for the two mega-majors – Sony and Universal.
Martin Mills, boss of British indie Beggars, has already welcomed the deal, while Helen Smith, Executive Chair of pan-European indie labels trade body IMPALA, told CMU: “We would expect to see a significant re-balancing effect as a result of this, after all, ‘two’s company, three’s a crowd’. A stronger competitor to the Universal/Sony duopoly should make the market more open at all levels and give artists new opportunities. We would also expect this to be complemented by significant strengthening of the independent sector”.
Meanwhile Charles Caldas of Merlin, which negotiates for many of the bigger indies in the digital domain, also welcomed the news, telling CMU: “This is a positive result for our members. Throughout this process, we have been clear that a market featuring two ‘maxi-majors’ with a crowd trailing in the distance spelt danger for innovative new digital services. We believe this outcome will create an environment in which both Warner and the independent sector can compete effectively, and in which we will be able to assist our members and digital services continue the job of re-inventing the music business”.
The Parlophone Label Group includes Parlophone UK and most of the other European EMI catalogues and units that Universal was forced to sell to get European Commission approval for its takeover of the EMI recorded music company.