08/06/12: IMPALA welcomes EC confirmation that it will move to the "next stage" in Universal/EMI investigation

Brussels, 8th June
In a speech this morning about anti-trust enforcement, the EC Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia confirmed that it would be moving to the "next stage" in its investigation in the Universal/EMI merger.

This follows the launch of a detailed investigation in March when the EC confirmed its initial findings demonstrated that Universal/EMI's market power would be too big for rivals, customers or piracy to constrain. The Commissioner said then that he would "make sure consumers continue to have access to a wide variety of music in different physical and digital formats at competitive conditions".

Talking today about different cases such as Google as well as his wider role in developing the digital market, the Commissioner said both the Sony/EMI merger and the Uni/EMI merger are important because "a company with a large and popular catalogue can have significant market power over digital platforms" also noting that "competition authorities have the responsibility to allow all participants to play their part."

Helen Smith "We welcome this news and expect to see a strong statement of objections confirming the Commission's earlier findings that Universal is a danger in the physical and digital market because it cannot be adequately constrained by competitors, customers or piracy."

To see Bloomberg write-up click here
To see the Commissioner's whole speech click here
To see the EC press release on initial findings, click here


IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent independent music companies. 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. SME’s also produce 80% of Europe’s jobs. 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.

Cultural and creative SMEs are now officially recognised by the EU as “the drivers of growth, job creation and innovation”. IMPALA expects the EC and its member countries to put in place key investment, digital and market access measures. Fostering Europe's economy of culture and diversity is one of the EU's top priorities in becoming the world's leading knowledge economy. Culture is a bigger earner than any of chemicals, automobiles or ICT manufacturing and provides more than 3% of Europe's jobs. IMPALA has its own award schemes to help promote cultural diversity and new talent and highlight the artistic contribution of independent music. IMPALA award winning artists include Efterklang, Adele, Manu Chao, Radiohead, Agnes Obel, Caro Emerald and Sigur Ros.


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