Brussels, 20th April
In the context of the American musicians' unions coming out this week in support of the Universal/EMI deal, it is worth noting that the International Musicians Union FIM took a strong stance against the Universal/EMI merger more than a month ago. News about this is just starting to circulate now. Among other concerns, FIM said that "such (a) merger can only be expected to further deteriorate an already imbalanced situation" and that "artists would lose one of the remaining few alternative routes to access the mass market". FIM further stated the result "would also mean less investment, lower quality, fewer jobs, narrowed consumer choice as well as reduced cultural diversity".
For FIM's full statement:
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.