The German association of independent labels, publishers and producers -- VUT -- is splitting the German branch of the labels' group IFPI, VUT chairman Peter James said Nov. 1.


HAMBURG, Germany -- The German association of independent labels, publishers and producers -- VUT -- is splitting the German branch of the labels' group IFPI, VUT chairman Peter James said Nov. 1. The cooperation between the VUT and the IFPI is to be terminated effective from Dec. 31.

The VUT was founded in 1993 with a mission to connect, protect and support its members with respect to their cultural and business activities. It joined the IFPI in 1996 as joint member.

Berlin-based VUT boasts roughly 1,100 members, comprising mostly small and medium sized labels, music publishers and producers. According to James, the IFPI's services now have little relevance to VUT's membership.

"Since we are not only (representing) record companies any more, we do not feel ourselves properly represented within the IFPI," James explains. "With our large number of members the VUT is the biggest national association of music companies."

Michael Haentjes, newly-appointed chairman of the German IFPI, says VUT's decision is "very unfortunate" and suggests the decision divides the local record industry. "According to the market shares, the IFPI represents the majority of the indies. For me, the VUT has the bigger problem of credibility," claims Haentjes.

The board of the German IFPI consists of representatives from the four major labels together with prominent indie representatives: Michael Haentjes (edel chairman), Konrad von Loehneysen (Ministry of Sound Germany managing director) and Kurt Thielen (Stereo de Luxe MD).

German labels body BPW claims 360 members, of which 356 are indies and the rest are the major music groups.