Where do indies stand on the proposed merger between Universal Music Group and EMI? Let’s ask Impala, a European consortium of more than 40,000 indie labels, as well as a broader collection of other indie organizations including AIM.
Monday, July 16th.
“The independents’ opposition to past mergers led to pension funds and private equity overpaying and in some cases mismanaging assets. The consumer lost and the pirates won.
“As I contemplate EMI’s fall from grace and the way it was ravished by private equity, I can see that in the right circumstances this merger could create a more competitive industry, while offering stability to EMI’s artists…
“…I think it could be just what the sector needs.”
IMPALA chairman Patrick Zelnik, in comments to the Financial Times. Zelnik stands to benefit from a UMG divestiture of Virgin Records, which he’d likely head alongside Richard Branson.
Tuesday, July 17th.
“Our board took a clear decision yesterday to continue its opposition to the Universal/EMI merger, rejecting remedies which do not deal with the specific problems set out in the EC’s statement of objections. The issue isn’t just digital, it’s physical and access to media exposure for new artists, as well as the foreclosure of independents when it comes to signing artists.
“We all respect Patrick Zelnik’s view, but the FT article is the Naive position, not the Impala position.”
Helen Smith, IMPALA executive chair, in a company release.
“In a market already hampered by Universal’s exploitation of its market leading position, this proposed acquisition could only serve to damage the digital ecosystem, not only for our members, but also for potential investors and consumer.”
Charles Caldas, Merlin CEO.
(Written while listening to Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE on Rdio…)