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“Approval of such an acquisition with no U.S. remedies will further constrain [indie label] resources.”
U.S. INDIES CHIME IN ON UNIVERSAL’S URGE TO MERGE
A2IM Wants UMG-EMI Divestment Package to Include Stateside Assets
As UMG brass continued their tug of war with EC officials behind closed doors in Brussels, A2IM President Rich Bengloff has reiterated his concern over the deal and the absence of a divestment package in the U.S. as well. In a strongly worded statement, Bengloff argued that in the absence of similar moves in the U.S., the purchase should be blocked by the FTC.

“With no divestitures or operating remedies proposed for the U.S.—the world’s largest music market and home to the vast majority of the technology companies who work with the music community—the negative impact on music consumers and emerging technology companies is clear,” Bengloff wrote. “Such market concentration will diminish healthy competition, providing one dominant market leader [with] damaging clout in terms of both consumer pricing and the means with which music is made available.

“Approval of such an acquisition with no U.S. remedies will further constrain [indie label] resources. We continue to join our European Impala independent music label colleagues in their concern over this acquisition and reiterate A2IM’s opposition to this transaction.”

The statement carried some weight. The A2IM represents 350 U.S. indies, and Beggars Group CEO/Impala leader Martin Mills, who testified against the merger during the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee hearing in June, is a member of the org's board of directors.

Universal was sufficiently annoyed by the A2IM statement that it felt compelled to respond: “Rich Bengloff clearly does not speak for the many indie labels and artists who have come out publicly in support of the deal. There is growing recognition that Universal Music’s investment in EMI will create more opportunities for new and established artists, expand music output and support new digital services. Barriers to entry have evaporated in today’s digital environment and there are more ways than ever for labels and artists to get their music out to fans. We are working with regulators around the world and are confident of winning approval.”

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