Haentjes: Decision ‘splits’ industry.

The German assn. of independent labels, publishers and producers is to split with the national IFPI group, VUT chairman Peter James said today (Nov. 1). The co-operation between VUT and IFPI is to be terminated with effect from Dec. 31.

The VUT was founded in 1993 with a remit to connect, protect and support its members with respect to their cultural and business activities. It joined 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 VUE’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 board of the German phonographic industry associations, says VUT's decision is "very unfortunate" and suggests the decision divides the local record industry. "According to the market-shares, IFPI represents the majority of the indies. For me the VUT has the bigger problem of credibility," claims Haentjes.

The board of the phonographic associations consists of representatives from the four majors 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. James recently announced VUT would not be stand for election on the phonographic associations’ boards.