Guest Opinion: Universal/EMI Deal Would Harm Music Fans and Musicians, by Gigi Sohn and Jodie Griffin of Public Knowledge
Guest Opinion: Universal/EMI Deal Would Harm Music Fans and Musicians, by Gigi Sohn and Jodie Griffin of Public Knowledge

Mike Chadwick managing director of UK-based Essential Music & Marketing has contacted the US Senate antitrust subcommittee to clarify his stance on the proposed merging of Universal Music Group and EMI, according to Music Week.

During last week's Senate hearing examining the deal, Chadwick was quoted from a Music Week Q&A published last month, which he'd said in part:

"Is [the proposed merger] good for us? It's great for us: there are loads of middle-level artists who are perfect for us. If we sell 10,000 records, I'm happy - we don't have to sell a million records to make a profit.

"Artists who are unhappy gravitate towards companies like us. These huge amalgamations or mergers are really good for the indies. Whether it's actually good for the music business as a whole is a different matter entirely."

Opinion: Universal-EMI Senate Hearings Filled With Misinformation, Missed Opportunities

Chadwick's full statement to the Senate Subcommittee, according the Music Week, follows. At press time, a rep for Universal had not granted's request for comment.

"Lucian Grainge's testimony to the Subcommitee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights last week contained a selective quote from an expansive interview I gave Music Week magazine in the UK earlier this year.

"Mr. Grainge suggested that I believed the proposed merger was a positive step for the business. In fact, my interview offered a view in which I questioned whether the merger would be good for the music business.

"To clarify further, my company is a sales, distribution and services company and tends not to compete on label or artist signings with Universal or EMI, however I nevertheless believe that the concentration of market power that would result from the merger would be a negative step for the industry and for independents.

"My considered view is the increase in market share and market power of the merged company would give it too much leverage with important gatekeepers such as radio, TV, music magazines and other media, as well as across retail.

"Therefore, although the transaction could free up certain artists, given Universal's enhanced market power, those artists would have significant difficulty in accessing media and commercial outlets on level terms. A merger would also enhance Universal's ability to abuse its dominant position in the emerging digital market and this would be certain to disadvantage independents in their ability to compete across the world."