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Indie publishers add to criticism of Sony/ATV deal

By | Published on Friday 22 April 2016


Following the news that both Warner Music and indie labels trade group IMPALA have expressed concern over Sony’s plan to take complete ownership of its Sony/ATV music publishing business, yesterday a group representing independent music publishers also criticised the move which will give Sony Corp outright ownership of the world’s biggest music publishing company.

As previously reported, Sony is buying the Michael Jackson Estate out of the Sony/ATV joint venture that began in the 1990s. Sony/ATV also controls the catalogue of EMI Music Publishing, which a Sony-led consortium bought in 2012. With Sony also owning the second biggest record company in the world, rivals are now saying that the Sony/ATV deal will give the entertainment conglom too much dominance in the music rights sector.

According to Bloomberg, Warner Music reps have already spoken to competition regulators within the European Commission about the deal, while IMPALA said that – given concerns already expressed by the EC when Sony led the EMI Music Publishing purchase a few years back – officials there will surely have to demand some remedies this time – most likely the forced sale of some of its repertoire – in order to green light the Sony/Jackson Estate deal.

Now the International Music Publishers Forum is also criticising the transaction. Its President, Pierre Mossiat, said yesterday: “IMPF intends to complain to the European Commission over the acquisition which needs to be carefully considered not only on the grounds of the distortion of the market it will cause, and in particular to independent music publishers, but also in the long run, the risk of reduced consumer choice and increased prices”.