As the deadline approaches for the EC to rule on the proposed Universal/EMI merger, independent music companies across Europe today urged the Commission to block Universal’s endeavour to gain more power in the music market.
In a letter sent today to European Commissioners, IMPALA asked the EC to ”stay faithful to its Statement of Objections issued in June, which concluded that the merger was a real danger in nearly all member states”. IMPALA has raised its concerns with the European Commission and other regulators since the sale of EMI was announced last year, when IMPALA also called for a political debate on whether the music market should be allowed to become a ”two horse race”.
In today’s letter, IMPALA also underlined that allowing the biggest music company in the world to become even more powerful was inconsistent with the EC’s stated concerns about the digital market and how copyright is misused, as well as its ambitions for unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries through their smaller actors.
Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA, concluded that ”blocking Universal’s attempt to increase its market power by buying one of its most thriving competitors is the logical outcome. It is difficult to see how remedies could be compatible with the EC’s Statement of Objections, which predicted that the merger would cause foreclosure of competitors’ access to media, as well as price increases and other problems. If Europe wants to promote competition and diversity, and ensure customers and consumers are protected from copyright abuse, now is the time to take a stance.”