So, it’s been a long time coming, but the music rights industry finally went through its latest big shift on Friday – from having four major players to just three (or two and a half really) – as Universal was given the all-clear to buy the EMI record company by regulators in both Europe and the US, the former albeit subject to a raft of remedies.
As previously reported, the European Commission gave the EMI deal its approval on Friday morning, saying that it believed that the “the very significant commitments proposed by Universal will ensure that competition in the music industry is preserved and that European consumers continue to enjoy all its benefits”.
Later in the day, the Federal Trade Commission in the US also green lighted the acquisition, without asking for any concessions beyond those already committed to in Europe. The FTC’s Bureau Of Competition said that different market conditions Stateside meant that the divestments ordered by the regulator in Europe were not required in the US.
Though the government body added: “Although [we] did not conclude that a remedy was needed to protect competition in the United States, we note that the remedy obtained by the European Commission to address the different market conditions in Europe will reduce concentration in the market in the United States as well”.
Needless to say, Universal welcomed the rulings on both sides of the Atlantic, concluding that “our investment in EMI will create more opportunities for new and established artists, expand music output and consumer choice, and support new digital services”.