Independent Music Companies Welcome The EC's Tough Objections On The Proposed Sony/BMG Merger
At a press conference in Brussels, the independents welcomed the EC's strong objections to the proposed Sony/BMG merger as well as the tough market assessment condemning the anti-competitive state of the recorded music market. The anti-trust watchdog has confirmed and materially strengthened aspects of its initial market assessment made in 2000 in the Warner/EMI proposed merger.
In 2000 the Warner/EMI the proposed merger failed because of similar initial findings. The independents could not reveal the EU's objections due to confidentiality. They noted however that Commission's findings are far-reaching and that the proposed merger would only make things worse.
The independent representatives welcomed the fact that the European Commission, by objecting to the merger, did not accept arguments the parties had put forward about market decline and efficiencies. The panel presented an alternative view of the music market which remains full of opportunities, including technology development, provided these opportunities are not foreclosed by anti-competitive practices.
The independents said they had asked EU Antitrust Commissioner Monti to ensure that the independents have access to these opportunities and are not marginalized further by the unprecedented concentration envisaged by the merger current. They argued this was essential in the interests of promoting European SMEs* (who make up 90% of the music business companies and employ more people than the majors) and European artists, safeguarding consumer choice and cultural diversity.
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