This post was authored by FMC policy intern Joseph Silver.
Pending approval by the Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission and other American and European antitrust regulators, the U.S-based record company Universal Music Group (UMG) intends to merge with the UK-based EMI Music Corporation to form one mega-label. Last November, UMG agreed to a $1.9 billion bid for EMI’s recorded music business. (A separate effort to acquire EMI’s profitable publishing division has been launched by Sony.) read more
What does the future hold for the major labels? Do they need to consolidate to remain competitive in the face of music piracy? Would the cost of music rise? Would they stymie growth and creation of streaming sites such as Pandora and Spotify?
Casey Rae, Deputy Director, Future of Music Coalition, an artists’ advocacy group.
C. Evan Stewart, attorney who practices antitrust law; Partner with Zuckerman, Spaeder law firm based in New York.
A couple of weeks ago, NPR’s “Planet Money” broadcast an episode about Katy Perry’s recent success. In case you didn’t know, the pop star has locked down the Billboard charts with five different singles from her album Teenage Dream, selling over two million albums and 24 million songs on iTunes. Besides itemizing these accomplishments, “Planet Money” focused on EMI’s inability make more than eight million bucks from Perry’s popularity. read more
As the castles crumble, does it really matter if UMG merges with EMI, anyway? YES, according to groups like Impala and now the Future of Music Coalition, which are actively lobbying on both sides of the Atlantic against the tie-up. Meanwhile, the labels have formally submitted their request to the European Commission, which pegged March 23rd as an approval date. US submissions happened two months ago, according to details shared by Impala…
A week after the Grammy Awards celebrations, the music industry is hunkering down for what could be an intense yearlong fight over corporate consolidation.
The ownership landscape of the major music companies has shifted significantly in the last year. In May, the Warner Music Group was sold to Access Industries, a conglomerate controlled by the Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik, and in November Citigroup reached deals to split EMI — home to the catalogs of the Beatles, Coldplay and Katy Perry — between Sony and the Universal Music Group. read more
On February 15, 2012, Future of Music Coalition sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission voicing concerns about the propsed aquisition of EMI Music by Universal Music Group (UMG). In it, we describe how competition allows for more innovation and opportunities for artists, and that the sheer market power of a post-acquisition UMG would inhibit the growth of the legitimate digital music marketplace.
February 15, 2012
Mr. Richard Feinstein, Esq., Director
Mr. Norman Armstrong, Esq., Deputy Director
Office of Policy and Coordination
Bureau of Competition, H-374
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
The interests of EMI’s publishing arm may not necessarily be those of the songwriters it represents. As it is now, ASCAP takes a fee from payments it collects, then distributes the rest of the money equally between songwriter and publisher. Casey Rae-Hunter, of the nonprofit advocacy group Future of Music Coalition, says the big music publishers don’t have the same obligations to songwriters that ASCAP does to those same people, its members.
“What is EMI’s responsibility to the songwriters who are part of their publishing empire, and can we trust that this company is going to honor the 50-50 split that songwriters have worked out and honored over the years?” Hunter asks.
In 2006, OK Go’s video for “Here It Goes Again” — also affectionately known as “the treadmill video” — became a web sensation. By decade’s end, it had been viewed approximately 50 million times — no small feat for a homemade clip. Although the video made its biggest splash on sites like YouTube, many fans embedded it on their personal pages and social networks. At which point “Here It Goes Again” went viral, increasing the band’s exposure on a global scale and boosting the band’s record sales (and the bottom line of their major label, EMI). read more