Independent Labels Ask For Review Of Sony-BMG Bid For Parlophone
January 11, 2013
Earlier this week, it was reported that Sony and BMG plan to team up to bid on Parlophone, the British label that Universal Music Group has put up for sale following its acquisition of EMI. Now, independent labels are asking the European Commission to keep a close eye on this potential deal.
The Financial Times reports that independent labels, and their European trade group Impala, are concerned about Parlophone landing with another major label, saying it would hurt competition. Speaking to the FT, Glassnote Music's Daniel Glass said, "The European Commission and the custodians they appointed have distorted the original intention" of the EMI spinoffs helping smaller labels. Glass adds that by selling the pieces of EMI to other major labels, "You know who's going to get hurt? The artists."
Impala has also released an announcement on its website, saying the group "has asked decision makers in Brussels to make sure the outcome promotes competition and does not strengthen the duopoly that exists between Universal and Sony."
According to the FT, Impala asked the European regulators late in 2012 to get involved in the sale of the Virgin Music catalog to BMG, and now the group has concerns over the potential sale of Parlophone. In a statement on Impala's website, Executive Chair Helen Smith said, "Our position from the start has been that music must not be allowed to become a 'two horse race' and making sure the independents are able to compete effectively is crucial. All interested companies should be treated equally as bidders for any assets to be sold off. Properly strengthening the independents should be part of the outcome. The divestment processes must not be conducted in a way that simply comforts the market leaders' view of how competition should, or should not, develop."