IMPALA statement on the sale of EMI Publishing to Sony

Brussels – 14th November 2011

Following the announcement this weekend of the sale of EMI Publishing by CitiGroup to an investment group led by Sony, IMPALA confirmed today that it would oppose the sale, referring to its statements last week, on 8th November and 11th November.

IMPALA points out that Brussels has already investigated concentration in the music publishing market, in the UniversalBMG case. This gave a very clear indication of what the maximum size of a major publishing interest should be. With EMI/Sony far exceeding this, IMPALA expects this merger to be rejected outright. IMPALA retains the view that even divestments will not convince the regulators.

Helen Smith, Executive Chair, IMPALA: “Brussels has already determined the maximum size of major music companies and it is difficult to see how arguments about the state of the market could impact that. The basic principles of competition in cultural markets do not tolerate making either Sony or Universal more powerful.”

IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent independent music companies. 99% of Europe’s music companies are small or medium sized enterprises (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. The independents also produce 80% of the sector’s jobs.

The potential of the sector is enormous. Key investment, online and market access measures are expected to be put in place at European and national level for the independents and other cultural and creative SMEs - now officially recognised by the EU as “the drivers of growth, job creation and innovation”. Fostering Europe's economy of culture and diversity is one of Europe’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 4,000 members including the top independents: !K7 (Germany), Anaconda Productions (Poland), Beggars Group (UK), Cosmos Music Group (Sweden), CLS Music (Hungary), CNR (NL), Cooking Vinyl (UK), Edel (Germany), Epitaph (US/NL), Everlasting (Spain), Gazell (Sweden), Kobalt (Sweden), Menart (Croatia), Musicvertrieb (Switzerland), Naïve (France), [PIAS] Entertainment Group (Benelux, UK and France), Playground (Sweden), Red Bullet (NL), Wagram (France), as well as national trade associations from the UK (AIM), France (UPFI), Germany (VUT), Spain (UFI), Italy (PMI), Belgium (BIMA), Denmark (DUP), Netherlands (STOMP),  Norway (FONO), Israel (PIL), Finland (Indieco) and Sweden (SOM).

IMPALA has its own award schemes to promote cultural diversity and new talent and highlight the artistic contribution of independent music. IMPALA award winning artists include Efterklang, Adele, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Carla Bruni, Manu Chao, Corneille, Katie Melua, Franz Ferdinand, The Prodigy, Placebo and Ibrahim Ferrer (Buena Vista Social Club).

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