IMPALA Press Release – Brussels, 13th December 2007
IMPALA welcomes opinion that EC Court was right to annul Sony/BMG merger in 2006
Independent music companies from across Europe welcomed today the opinion of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that its lower Court was right to annul the SonyBMG merger in 2006. The Court’s Advocate General, Juliane Kokott, has concluded that the appeal of Sony and Bertelsmann should be rejected in its entirety. It was also confirmed that there is NO presumption in favour of merging parties that mergers are pro-competitive.
Helen Smith, Secretary General of IMPALA added: “The confirmation that there is no presumption in favour of mergers is vital, particularly in concentrated cultural markets such as music.”
IMPALA was established in April 2000 to help independent music companies represent their own agenda and promote the expansion and competitiveness of independent music in the interests of entrepreneurial and cultural diversity. IMPALA is the only cultural and creative SME association in Brussels.
99% of Europe’s music companies are SMEs. Known as the “independents”, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists - they produce more than 80% of all new releases. They are also key employers, providing more than half the jobs in the whole sector. Their potential is enormous but is hampered by complex barriers to trade and severe market access problems. The impact on diversity, consumer choice and pluralism is clear. Over 95% of what most people hear and see, whether on radio, retail or the internet, is concentrated in the hands of four multinationals, known as the majors”. The Commission will now seek to put new policies in place to give SMEs preferential treatment, which is seen as is “economically and politically justifiable”. Cultural and creative SMEs are now officially recognised by the EU as “the drivers of growth, job creation and innovation”.
IMPALA has over 3500 members including the top independents: !K7 (Germany), Beggars Group (UK), Bonnier Amigo (Sweden), CLS Music (Hungary), CNR (NL), Cooking Vinyl (UK), Edel (Germany), Epitaph (US/NL), Gazell (Sweden), Menart doo (SIovenia), Musicvertrieb (Switzerland), Naïve (France), Odyssey (Ukraine), PIAS Group (Belgium), Playground (Sweden), Red Bullet (NL), Soyuz Music (Russia), SPV (Germany), Wagram (France), as well as national trade associations from the UK (AIM), France (UPFI), Germany (VUT), Spain (UFI), Italy (PMI), Belgium (BIMA), Denmark (DUP), Norway (FONO), Israel (PIL) and Sweden (SOM) and the Catalonian association APECAT.
For further queries, please see http://www.impalamusic.org or contact IMPALA on T: + 32 2 503 31 38, IMPALA, Coudenberg 70, B-1000, Brussels.