Impala Meets On BMG Merger

BRUSSELS (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The pan-European independent labels and publishers group Impala has launched a consultation of its members to respond to concerns about the proposed merger by Universal and BMG publishing. This follows a meeting in Paris last week of Impala’s management board* to agree tactics regarding the merger.

Impala has been asked to provide input to the EU’s investigation as it represents both competitors and customers to the merger.

Impala is looking at its members’ concerns in terms of further damage to competition in recorded music and publishing, as well as prejudice in terms of collecting societies, online licensing, synchronisation markets, and the restrictive impact on songwriters and artists.

The independents take the view that Universal/BMG Music Publishing is likely to be blocked. The parties’ claims that they are relatively small major publishers are misleading as already they have rights in larger catalogues of songs than the other majors.

The European court in July this year set tough precedents when Impala succeeded in overturning the EC’s approval of the SonyBMG merger in recorded music. In 2000, in the attempted EMI Warner merger, the EC had already concluded that further concentration in publishing could not be tolerated. The new merger rules make it easier to block mergers.

Impala’s consultation exercise will be completed by mid-November and will cover members and member associations in all key European territories. Impala will then submit its conclusions to the European Commission.

Impala has also been contacted by the Department of Justice and other national competition authorities. – CelebrityAccess Staff Wire

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