[…]Artists are also worried about the merger’s consequences. “It’s all totally stacked against the creator,” said Casey Rae-Hunter, who heads the Future of Music Coalition, an organization representing independent and unsigned musicians. “And the Universal-EMI merger gives them even more leverage to do really scary things.”
[…]”This was supposed to look a lot different,” said Rae-Hunter, who also runs the tiny, independent record label Lux Eterna and records as The Contrarian.
“We were supposed to not just solve the access problem about reaching new audiences, but also to monetize that activity in a way in which 99 percent of that activity was not captured by the major labels,” Rae-Hunter said. “But we see now that the majors still dictate the terms.”[…]
[…]Universal told the Journal the E.U.’s approval “will benefit the artistic community and music industry” and that Universal is glad it will hold onto more than two-thirds of EMI’s global business. But IMPALA, a trade group representing European independent record labels, protested that the required sell-offs wouldn’t be enough to limit Universal’s increasing grip on the market. Casey Rae, deputy director of the U.S. nonprofit Future of Music Coalition, told Politico that “there’s not really going to be any number of divestitures that will make this a groovy deal.” Somewhere, someone at General Electric, the majority owner of Universal-owning (and now EMI-owning) Vivendi, a French media conglomerate, is chanting “swag.”
Many musicians have also voiced opposition to the deal, arguing that existing record label contracts are stacked against artists — and will likely remain so absent significant changes in the digital marketplace. On average, musicians only receive $23.40 out of every $1,000 in music sales under the current system.
The American Antitrust Institute, the Consumer Federation of America and the Future of Music Coalition — a group representing independent and unsigned musicians — are all opposed to the deal.
[…]“The major labels are incredibly good at extracting maximum value from whatever they touch, and with only three left, they’ll be able to dictate the terms of the digital marketplace in ways we’ll be feeling for years to come,” said Casey Rae, deputy director of the Future of Music Coalition, a national nonprofit that opposes the deal.
“It’s always been conventional wisdom that if the EU accepted this deal, that the United States would mirror that,” Rae said. “But there’s not really going to be any number of divestitures that will make this a groovy deal.
[Post authored by FMC Policy Fellow Daniel Lieberman]
Last week, Universal Music’s bid to takeover EMI Music went before European antitrust regulators, who will rule this September on a merger that would further consolidate the major record label system. If you are just tuning in, EMI is the crown jewel of the United Kingdom’s music catalog, home to classic recordings by the Beatles,Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and more contemporary releases by the Beastie Boys, LCD Soundsystem and Norah Jones. Further background on this merger is available here. read more
Washington, D.C .— Future of Music Coalition (FMC) has for several months raised questions about a proposed merger between Universal Music Group and EMI Music, which would have a negative impact on artists as well as the growth of a legitimate digital music marketplace that rewards creators and fans alike.
News recently broke of an EMI proposal to European regulators that included divestitures and behavioral remedies meant to alleviate concerns over market concentration and resultant consumer harms. These supposed palliatives, however, do nothing to address concerns over the merger’s impact on the U.S. market, including the impact on innovation and leverage within the independent sector.
The following statement can be attributed to FMC Deputy Director Casey Rae: read more
The Senate Judiciary’s subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing on Thursday afternoon to examine the planned merger of Universal Music Group and EMI.
[…]On Monday afternoon, the authors of the Public Knowledge-Consumer Federation paper will speak at a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss the merger. Casey Rae Hunter, deputy director of the Future of Music Coalition, will join Public Knowledge’s Jodie Griffin and the Consumer Federation’s Mark Cooper. Chris Naoum, co-founder of Listen Local First, will moderate.
Chairman Kohl, Senator Lee and members of the committee, it is an honor to submit the following testimony for the record in such an important hearing.
My name is Casey Rae, and I am the Deputy Director for Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national research, education and advocacy organization for musicians. I am also a recording artist, producer and small label owner. Each of these roles has provided me with valuable insight into how the independent music sector functions on a practical level, as well as how technology has impacted artists and songwriters in positive and less-than-positive ways. read more
[…]Universal’s deal would reduce the number of major record companies to three from four, and give the company — already the largest record group by revenue — a 40 percent share of the global recorded music market, according to most estimates.
Others in the music industry, including the Warner Music Group and independent organizations like the Future of Music Coalition, also oppose the Universal deal. But the deal has supporters, too, including some artist managers and American labor unions representing musicians and performers.
This post was authored by FMC policy intern Joseph Silver.
Pending approval by the Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission and other American and European antitrust regulators, the U.S-based record company Universal Music Group (UMG) intends to merge with the UK-based EMI Music Corporation to form one mega-label. Last November, UMG agreed to a $1.9 billion bid for EMI’s recorded music business. (A separate effort to acquire EMI’s profitable publishing division has been launched by Sony.) read more