Opposition to Universal Music Group's acquisition of EMI's recorded music division continues to grow, as government regulators in both the U.S. and Europe mull over approval of the deal. According to the New York Times, two consumer-advocate groups have re-iterated their opposition to UMG-EMI with the release of a detailed report on the issue.
Public Knowledge and the Consumer Federation of America had already stated their position on the matter to Senate Judiciary subcommittee tasked with oversight of the deal, as well as the Federal Trade Commission. Yesterday, the groups released their detailed report that claims a merged UMG-EMI "will have a strong incentive and increased ability to exercise market power, particularly in undermining, delaying or distorting new digital distribution business models, in a market that has been a tight oligopoly for over a decade." The report also argues that the merger could result in price fixing and collusion, similar to the type that Apple and book publishers have recently been accused of in the e-book business.
"This is the same song sung to a different melody," Universal Music said in a statement. "There’s nothing new here as C.F.A.’s analysis continues to vastly overstate market concentration. Indie labels are a vibrant and growing force accounting for nearly 30 percent of the market. The music industry is intensely competitive and barriers to entry have evaporated in today’s digital environment."
Public Knowledge also launched an online petition on Thursday morning, opposing the EMI sale.
Last week it was reported that European regulators had filed a formal, antitrust complaint against the UMG-EMI deal.
Next Thursday, June 21, the Senate subcommittee will begin its hearings on the UMG-EMI deal. The European regulators have a September 6 deadline to rule whether to approve or deny the sale.