The European Commission is considering the competition implications of Sony’s move to take full control of EMI Music Publishing, and as we reported last month, independent body Impala has come out strongly against the plans. Now UK songwriters body Basca has weighed in, and it’s of a similar opinion, suggesting that the proposed acquisition would create a ‘major-superpower’ for Sony in the music-publishing market.
“At a time when the EU is looking to restore a balanced, diverse and competitive online marketplace for music, to allow the concentration of market leverage in this way seems antithetical to that purpose,” said Basca chair Crispin Hunt in a statement, with Basca pointing out that Sony’s catalogue post-acquisition could swell to 4.2m compositions. “Sony is a great music company; indeed they acquired, publish and service much of my catalogue. But if we are to heed the economic lessons of ‘too big to fail’, it seems incautious to concede near absolute control of the music market to one player. Setting up the music ecosystem so that it once again runs on competition as opposed to oligopoly is the key to a flourishing market, both online and off.”
Like Impala, Basca wants the EC to block the proposed acquisition, with its preferred outcome being EMI continuing as a standalone business, or merging with smaller publishers to bulk it up to compete with the other majors.