Following the news that Universal’s bid to buy EMI’s recordings division has received approval in all territories, after competition regulators in both Europe and the US gave the green light today, indie labels digital rights body Merlin has issued a statement. The organisation was opposed to the deal throughout, so it is perhaps of no surprise that this latest statement was negative in tone.
Merlin CEO Charles Caldas told CMU: “Merlin is disappointed that Universal has been allowed to enhance its market leading position – even to a limited degree. That said, the concessions Universal has had to make to get this deal through are significant, and must make this a very different deal to the one Universal originally envisioned”.
He continued: “Merlin’s concerns remain as they have from the start – to ensure the development of a healthy and competitive digital music sector. In that context, we now have to face the possibility that the digital market could be dictated and controlled by two super majors (Universal and Sony), which would not be a healthy outcome. Therefore, Universal’s enforced global divestments, including what appears to be the majority of EMI in Europe, must now involve buyers who can ensure effective ongoing competition in the digital market”.