Independent music companies have made a pre-emptive strike to oppose Sony's attempt to gain sole control of EMI Music Publishing. IMPALA confirms today that it has lodged concerns with the European Commission about the transaction, which it describes as "seismic'.

Sony's move would increase its share of EMI to 100%, after confirmation that Sony has also bought out the shares of Michael Jackson's estate. That would almost double the number of songs it controls, from 2.16m to 4.21m compositions. Combine that with Sony Music's huge recordings catalogue and Sony would be the biggest and most formidable music company in the world.

When Sony became a shareholder in the consortium structure which acquired EMI Music Publishing in 2012, the European Commission said Sony would control too much music and insisted on divestments. It only approved the transaction on the basis that EMI would be run separately and would not be combined with Sony's own publishing or recording operations. This was reconfirmed in 2016, when the Commission allowed Sony to buy out the proportion of Sony/ATV that it did not already own.

This deal would remove those safeguards. Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA commented: "It cannot be overemphasised that this is completely different to an ordinary change from joint to sole control. It's like seeking to merge two majors. That would never be allowed and neither should this. Sony's latest financial results confirm that "EMI will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony."

One of the key areas of investigation will be the online market, where more concentration is likely to cause competition concerns. Sony's position as an indispensable trading partner for online services would be significantly reinforced. It would have immense bargaining power to leverage both publishing and recorded music markets, which it can now exercise without the constraint of its current consortium partners.

If permitted, this transaction would also harm collecting societies, songwriters and composers, and consumers who would face higher charges for music services.

"No music company globally would hold so much power. Sony would be able to dictate terms to online services, dominate playlists, control collecting societies and capture all key routes to market, at the expense of online services, competitors, authors, and consumers. This would be seismic." said Smith.

The European Commission will assess the proposed transaction once Sony submits its formal notification. Competitors and other market participants will receive detailed questionnaires to answer. The Commission will then decide whether the transaction would lead to a significant impediment to effective competition and if so, what it should do.

Helen Smith concluded: "Our view is that the transaction has to be blocked. EMI would have a better future as a stand-alone operation or combined with another smaller music company to make a more effective competitor to the majors. That would be the best outcome not only for competition but also for cultural diversity and consumer choice."

23 Aug 2019 | Press release

Blossoms, Dave among latest British music acts to benefit from MEGS funding to grow their careers overseas

The latest round of Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) funding has seen £250,000 awarded in support of 20 British acts drawn mainly from the vibrant UK music indie scene.  The BPI-run scheme is funded through the Department for International Trade as...more

22 Aug 2019 | Press release

Tileyard Music has appointed Neil Hughes as its new Managing Director

Neil Hughes will be working with the co-founders of the business Michael Harwood, Charlie Arme, Paul Kempe and Nick Keynes to continue to grow the business into one of the leading independent music companies in the world. Prior to joining Tileyard...more

22 Aug 2019 | Press release

The 2019 Hyundai Mercury Prize

Awards Show is on Thursday, 19 September 2019 at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith Awards Show to be hosted by BBC Music's Lauren Laverne and broadcast on BBC TV and radio  2019 Hyundai Mercury Prize announces initial line-up of live performances for the...more

22 Aug 2019 | Press release

Warner Chappell Music has signed a worldwide deal with UK artist, songwriter, DJ and producer Afro B.

Warner Chappell Music, the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, has signed a worldwide deal with UK artist, songwriter, DJ and producer Afro B. Afro B has been a prominent figure in the rise of the afrowave scene, drawing on...more

22 Aug 2019 | Press release

Paris Electronic Week announces key panels and speakers for 2019 edition.

From 25 to 29 September 2019, Paris Electronic Week will celebrate its 7th edition and take over the capital with a plethora of events in clubs, record shops and ephemeral venues of all kinds. A hybrid and multidisciplinary festival, PEW...more

22 Aug 2019 | Press release

Sean Paul shares how he brought Dancehall to the world stage in new BBC Radio 1Xtra documentary

In a new documentary for BBC iPlayer, 1Xtra’s Yasmin Evans follows Sean Paul from Jamaica to the UK to discover more about the man behind the music and how his catalogue of hits brought Dancehall to the mainstream.  Yasmin learns more...more

22 Aug 2019 | Press release

Kobalt has promoted Ann Tausis to the position of CEO, Kobalt Neighbouring Rights.

Kobalt has promoted Ann Tausis to the position of CEO, Kobalt Neighbouring Rights.   Based in Kobalt’s London office, Tausis has led Neighbouring Rights’ continued growth and expansion since 2013. Under Tausis, Kobalt’s Neighbouring Rights (KNR) division has distributed over $250M to...more

21 Aug 2019 | Press release

Honeyblood, Rachael Dadd, Squid and Tawiah among the latest 17 artists to receive support from PRS Foundation’s Momentum Music Fund

Next deadline for applications is 11th September 2019PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development, together with PPL, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Invest NI, Spotify and...more

21 Aug 2019 | Press release

AWAL Partners With Indie Label Juicebox Recordings & Signs Franc Moody & Joe Hertz

London’s Prolific Tastemaker Label and Brand, Juicebox Recordings Signs Multi-faceted Deal With AWAL Recordings AWAL, Kobalt’s recording company, today announced worldwide recordings deals with artists Franc Moody and Joe Hertz formalising AWAL's partnership with Juicebox Recordings. The deal will leverage...more

21 Aug 2019 | Press release

Ditto Music announces global Ditto X Conference Tour for 2019


21 Aug 2019 | Press release

BBC announces exclusive film with Dolly Parton as part of a Country Music season this autumn

With exclusive access, Dolly’s Country (working title) comes to BBC Two this autumn as part of a season of programmes putting a spotlight on country music. On BBC Four, Country Music is a star-studded eight-part series by Ken Burns. Highlights...more

21 Aug 2019 | Press release

Stormzy, Charli XCX and HAIM added to bill for Radio 1's Live Lounge Month 2019

The full line up for Radio 1’s Live Lounge Month 2019 has been unveiled, with Stormzy, Charli XCX and HAIM among the raft of incredible acts set to perform throughout September.  The latest additions join the bill alongside Taylor Swift, Lana...more

21 Aug 2019 | Press release

The Orchard launches Tokyo office

Expansion provides substantial growth opportunity for the independent sector in second-largest global music marketThe Orchard, the global leader in independent music distribution and artist and label services, announced today that it is expanding into Japan, the second largest music market...more

21 Aug 2019 | Press release

Beatsource Welcomes World Renowned DJ and Producer, A-Trak, to Board

Beatsource, the new digital music service for open-format DJs, announced that Alain Macklovitch (pka A-Trak) has joined its Board of Managers. Beatsource, a joint venture between Beatport and DJcity, is launching its online download store in September.“Genre-specific stores don’t reflect...more

20 Aug 2019 | Press release

Seven UK acts will play at this year’s Zandari Festa as part of Sound City Korea 2019.

Seven UK acts will play at this year’s Zandari Festa as part of Sound City Korea 2019. The Sherlocks, Wooze, Too Many T’s, TXT, The Tea Street Band, Scarlet and Two Weeks In Nashville have all been chosen to make the...more

20 Aug 2019 | Press release

Hipgnosis acquires catalogue from The Chainsmokers

Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited (“Hipgnosis” or the “Company”) Acquisition of Music Catalogue The Board of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited and its Investment Adviser, The Family (Music) Limited, are pleased to announce that the Company has acquired a music catalogue from The Chainsmokers, ...more

20 Aug 2019 | Press release

Apple Music launches Shazam Discovery Top 50 Chart

Apple Music today launched Shazam Discovery Top 50 (link), a weekly global ranking of 50 artists on the move and their trending track.   With 20 million Shazams each day and over 1 billion downloads of its app across the world, Shazam...more

19 Aug 2019 | Press release

Spotify announces the launch of its upgraded Spotify Premium Family plan

Spotify announces the launch of its upgraded Spotify Premium Family plan that gives families even more ways to make enjoying music as a family even better -- and all for the same price of $/£14.99. The updated Spotify Premium Family...more

19 Aug 2019 | Press release

Faber Music joins IMPEL

Faber Music - one of the most influential publishers of contemporary classical music in the world – has joined IMPEL. Founded in 1965 as a sister company to the distinguished book publisher Faber And Faber, Faber Music is now one of...more

16 Aug 2019 | Press release

Pivotal music conference announces its full line-up of panels

Pivotal has now announced it’s full lineup of panels featuring content from ACM, The Association of Independent Music (AIM), The Featured Artists Coalition, AWAL, Complete Music Update (CMU), The Music Producers Guild (MPG) and VS Podcast. The panels include topics...more

16 Aug 2019 | Press release

The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award announce the highly anticipated 2019 shortlist

TEN ALBUMS NOW IN THE RUNNING FOR £20K PRIZE AND COVETED TITLE OF SCOTTISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR     The Shortlist for this year’s Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award has been officially revealed ahead of next month’s final award ceremony at the Assembly Rooms in...more

16 Aug 2019 | Press release

CD Baby and Bandzoogle announce new partnership

CD Baby’s HostBaby is partnering with leading music-oriented web hosting provider Bandzoogle.  It’s a perfect match: Two committed independent music companies, founded and run by musicians, whose mission is to better serve the DIY and self-managed artists in a shifting digital...more

16 Aug 2019 | Press release

PUMA takes over Spotify's Who We Be podcast and drops exclusive athlete playlists in platform first.

Spotify is bringing together the best of music and sports culture with a new, first-to-market partnership with global sports brand PUMA. The multifaceted takeover, ‘Find Your Flow’, creates a space on Spotify for audiences to engage with PUMA and their network...more

16 Aug 2019 | Press release

AWAL inks partnership with Brian Kelley and Tyle Hubbard's newly-formed Round Here Records.

AWAL, Kobalt’s recording company, today announced a worldwide partnership with Round Here Records, a newly-formed label created by trailblazing Florida Georgia Line superstars Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard.  Founded as a new branch of the creative vision which also includes Kelley...more

15 Aug 2019 | Press release

CCUK Get It Right next phase consumer education campaign

- Caspar Lee & Snoochie Shy kick off new video series highlighting our shared love of creative content and the true cost of piracy- Creative industries initiative encouraging fans to value the creative process and to access content legallyGet It...more

15 Aug 2019 | Press release

Bauer Media launch further seven radio stations and KISS Life podcast series

Bauer Media are today unveiling the next step in their digital audio innovation product strategy, launching seven new radio stations from existing brands; KISS, Kerrang! Radio and heat Radio, and a brand-new KISS topical podcast series.Providing a deeper genre-specific listen or distinctive...more

15 Aug 2019 | Press release

UK Music warns A-level figures reveal “deepening crisis” facing music teaching and UK’s world-leading orchestras

UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher warned of a “deepening crisis” facing A-level music after the latest results today (Thursday) revealed a 5.8 per cent drop in the number of pupils taking the subject in England.The new figures from examinations...more

15 Aug 2019 | Press release

Dave Pichilingi has added to his role at Modern Sky Entertainment to head up the company’s US operation alongside the UK office

Dave Pichilingi has added to his role at Modern Sky Entertainment to head up the company’s US operation alongside the UK office. With the new title of CEO UK & North America, Pichilingi will divide his time between Modern Sky’s Liverpool...more

15 Aug 2019 | Press release

Independent Venue Week (IVW) launches a new one-day event, Independents Day in partnership with Harman

The team behind Independent Venue Week (IVW) launches a new one-day event, Independents Day in partnership with Harman, in London on Tuesday 20th August 2019.  Created in response to recent requests from participating venues to be able to meet up with...more

15 Aug 2019 | Press release

Sony/ATV signs deal to represent Scott Weiland’s Stone Temple Pilots song catalog

Sony/ATV Music Publishing has signed a worldwide deal to represent the late Scott Weiland’s song catalog with Stone Temple Pilots. Weiland co-founded the influential California alternative rock band and was the co-writer and frontman for their first six albums. This sequence...more

23 Aug 2019

  • Audiomack announces first major label licensing deal with Warner Music Group (see Digital)

  • Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) awards £250k to 20 British acts (see News)

  • Hasbro acquires Entertainment One (see Business)

  • Spotify extends free trial to three months (see Digital)

22 Aug 2019

  • Eminem's publisher Eight Mile Style files lawsuit against Spotify for "copyright infringement" (see News)

  • Taylor Swift confirms plans to re-record old songs (see News)

  • Neil Hughes appointed Managing Director of Tileyard Music (see Business)

21 Aug 2019

  • Apple Music launches Shazam Discovery Top 50 (see Digital)

  • Spotify tests 'Stories' for its Playlists (see Digital)

20 Aug 2019

  • Spotify upgrades Premium Family plan (see Digital)

  • Hipgnosis acquires catalogue from the Chainsmokers (see Deals)

19 Aug 2019

  • Superstruct Entertainment invests in Germany’s International Concert Service (ICS) (see Business)

  • Chance the Rapper hits 1bn streams on SoundCloud (see Digital)

16 Aug 2019

  • Kiss Group Programme Director Andy Roberts leaves Bauer (see Media)

  • Streaming services file appeal over Copyright Royalty Board's mechanical rate determination (see News)

15 Aug 2019

  • RIAA research highlights scale of counterfeiting via online store sales (see News)

  • Bauer Media launch seven new radio stations (see Media)

14 Aug 2019

  • Plácido Domingo accused of sexual harassment (see News)

13 Aug 2019

  • Tencent Music Entertainment Group announced Q2 financial results (see Business)

12 Aug 2019

  • HMV’s unsecured creditors to receive almost nothing following 2018 administration (see Business)

  • HMV's market share for physical entertainment products dropped 3.3% in Q2 (see News)