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EU: Songwriters protest EC’s Sony-EMI deal approval

 |  October 29, 2018
Songwriters and independent music companies have hit out at the decision of competition regulators in Europe to approve Sony’s deal to take complete ownership of EMI Music Publishing. The European Commission announced it was green lighting the deal on Friday, October 26.

Impala, the pan-European independent music companies’ trade association, had rigorously opposed the proposed transaction, 
the result of which would create a mega-publisher with 4.21 million compositions, a huge pool of writers, and the ability to combine recordings and publishing. It would “control more music than any other player in the sector,” the Brussels-based lobby body warned.Since 2012, EMI Music Publishing has been jointly owned and controlled by Sony Corporation of America and Mubadala Investment Company, an investment fund based in the United Arab Emirates. Sony signed a “legally binding” memorandum of understanding earlier this year to acquire a 60% share in the publisher, which triggered a regulatory probe.

Impala had called for Sony to be required to spin-off some of its assets, which regulators had agreed to on earlier mergers. “This goes against the regulator’s own precedents,” notes Helen Smith, Impala’s executive chair. “In 2012, it ruled that divestments were required for Sony to become a minority shareholder.

The deal is “bad news for the music sector and the digital single market,” Smith adds. “Sony will have a near monopoly over the charts and the whole music value chain will lose out as a result. Songwriters, composers, independent labels and publishers, digital services, and of course music fans, will all be worse off. This decision has dealt a significant blow to innovation and cultural diversity in Europe.”

Full Content: The Industry Observer

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