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."

04 Jun 2020 | Press release

The world’s first socially distanced immersive music event and venue

OPENING OCTOBER 2020 AT A SECRET LOCATION IN LONDON BRIDGE   One Night Records, a brand-new immersive music event and venue, launches this October 2020 at a secret London Bridge location, it is announced today [04.06]. For a limited initial run, the exciting new live event, the first of its...more

04 Jun 2020 | Press release

Full capacity plan

Call for increased testing through incentivesNational campaign to restart the leisure economy Melvin Benn, Managing Director of Festival Republic has called for the increase of testing in the UK as leisure industries (recreation, entertainment, sports) cannot operate with the measures that...more

04 Jun 2020 | Press release

Big name artists join fight to save Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios

Guy Garvey among musicians and producers demanding Parr Street Studios preservation  Elbow’s Guy Garvey, Travis’ Andy Dunlop, PiL’s Jah Wobble and a host of other musicians and producers have joined the fight to save Liverpool’s world-renowned Parr Street Studios, which...more

04 Jun 2020 | Press release

Tomorrowland Around The World, the digital festival

Spectacular two-day digital music festival experience, bringing together the planet’s biggest names in electronic dance music and the world’s best technologies in 3D design, video production and special effects.   June 4, 2020 – Just imagine... a dazzling new Tomorrowland location has...more

04 Jun 2020 | Press release

MMF announces ReBuild fund - supporting music managers to support music creators

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) has today announced a new support fund for talented UK-based managers impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.   In its first round, the ReBuild fund will offer grants of up to £3,000. Successful managers will have to meet...more

03 Jun 2020 | Press release

Hipgnosis provides Trading Update

Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited ("Hipgnosis" or the "Company") Unaudited Net Asset Value and Trading Update The Board of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited and its Investment Adviser, The Family (Music) Limited, are pleased to provide a trading update ahead of the Company's results...more

03 Jun 2020 | Press release

E2 Music signs admin agreement with Sentric

E2 Music Publishing has signed an exclusive administration and collection deal with Sentric Music Group. Founded in 2018, E2 Music is the publishing off-shoot of Edition Records, a jazz record label that, over the last 12 years, has been a creative force...more

03 Jun 2020 | Press release

Warner Music Group Corp. announces pricing of initial public offering

Warner Music Group Corp. (the “Company”) announced today the pricing of its initial public offering (“IPO”) of 77,000,000 shares of its Class A common stock at a public offering price of $25.00 per share.  The size of the IPO was...more

03 Jun 2020 | Press release

Gismart launches partnership program Games for Artists, opening new promotional and revenue opportunities for musicians via hyper-casual games

Gismart, the mobile game and app developer, has launched a partnership program Games for Artists where partner musicians can promote their brand and music via Gismart’s new hyper-casual games. The company offers artists a range of opportunities to reach a...more

03 Jun 2020 | Press release

Warner Music Group, Blavatnik Family Foundation announce $100Million fund to support the music community and groups promoting social justice

Warner Music Group, its directors and management, and theBlavatnik Family Foundation announced today a $100 million fund to support charitable causes related to the music industry, social justice and campaigns against violence and racism. An advisory panel made up of appointees from...more

03 Jun 2020 | Press release

Kaiser Chiefs’ frontman Ricky Wilson and radio legend Tony Blackburn return as pop detectives

RICKY & TONY: POP DETECTIVESSEASON TWO LAUNCHING ON 9TH JUNEEight week series available every Tuesday from 9th June“ a surprisingly delightful listen” Miranda Sawyer, The ObserverListen to the trailerThe unlikely duo of Kaiser Chiefs’ frontman Ricky Wilson and radio royalty...more

03 Jun 2020 | Press release

PPL announces 2019 collections of £271.8 million

Record figure is a 10% increase on 2018 revenues   In 2019 music licensing company PPL collected a total of £271.8 million for performers and recording rightsholders; an increase of £25 million (10%) from 2018. Growth was achieved across all three of...more

03 Jun 2020 | Press release

CISAC announces new Vice Presidents Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Arturo Marquez

Internationally-acclaimed South African singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, humanitarian and teacher Yvonne Chaka Chaka has been elected as Vice President of CISAC. Also elected as Vice President at CISAC’s General Assembly on May 28th is Arturo Márquez, one of Mexico’s leading...more

01 Jun 2020 | Press release

Capital Bra signs new deal with Warner Chappell Music

Capital Bra, the most successful charting artist of the 21stcentury in Germany with 21 No. 1 hits to his name, has signed a new worldwide publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music, the global publishing arm of Warner Music Group. Capital Bra...more

01 Jun 2020 | Press release

Dipesh Parmar named President of Ministry of Sound Recordings

  Sony Music UK today [01.06.20] announced the promotion of highly respected executive Dipesh Parmar to President of Ministry of Sound Recordings, effective from 1 June. He will report directly to Jason Iley, Chairman and CEO, Sony Music UK and Ireland.  Dipesh has...more

01 Jun 2020 | Press release

Aled Haydn Jones announced as new Head of Radio 1

Radio 1 announced today that Aled Haydn Jones is the new Head of the station. Bringing a wealth of experience to the role, Haydn Jones has previously been a presenter on the network, producer on live music events, as well as a producer on...more

01 Jun 2020 | Press release

Introducing The Virtual Electronic Music Summit

Free Virtual Summit Launches to Tackle Challenges Faced by the Music Industry Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic The future of events and nightlife still shrouded in uncertainty. Everything we do is based around locations, gatherings, events, and shows — and those...more

01 Jun 2020 | Press release

To the Captains of the Music Industry:

I am gratified to see the industry embrace “Black Out” day in honour of George Floyd, it is a timely and appropriate reminder that we cannot tolerate racism.I have been in the music industry for over 45 years and in...more

01 Jun 2020 | Press release

BBC Radio 1Xtra to broadcast special programming in support of the Black community

Tomorrow (2 June) BBC Radio 1Xtra will broadcast special programming of music, discussions and debates in support of the Black community in the UK and around the world. 1Xtra has a long history of reflecting its audience as well as providing...more

31 May 2020 | Press release

KSI scores four number ones in the UK with debut album Dissimulation

  British YouTuber, professional boxer and hip hop sensation KSI has scored the UK's #1 streaming album, #1 download album,#1 independent album and best-selling album in the week with his debut album Dissimulation, released by BMG. In a dramatic chart battle with UK rock...more

31 May 2020 | Press release

Amazon Music Celebrates Pride with New Pride History Feature, Exclusive Amazon Original tracks and more

  Today, Amazon Music announced a collection of new activities to celebrate Pride Month. Kicking off today, the slate of activities includes a daily Pride History Alexa Skill narrated by Melissa Etheridge, Tegan and Sara, and Kim Petras that will share different stories from queer...more

31 May 2020 | Press release

Firestone's new podcast driven by passion for music

New podcast series featuring emerging talent and industry professionals  Emerging artists and new music enthusiasts are being promised an essential listening experience full of fresh inspiration, courtesy of Firestone's new 'Driven by Music' podcast. The series, presented by TV and radio presenter Abbie...more

31 May 2020 | Press release

The Other Songs host online Festival for The BRIT School

The Other Songs host online Festival for The BRIT School, raising funds for the education and well-being of young artistsArtists including Nile Rodgers, Imogen Heap, Leona Lewis, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Dan Gillespie Sells, DJ Ace and Raye will be appearing...more

31 May 2020 | Press release

EXIT Festival’s 20th Anniversary edition will take place from 13th to 16th August 2020

  After the epidemic ended in most of the countries in the Balkans, the Serbian Prime Minister asked EXIT Festival not to cancel, but instead, take place later in the summer. This news shook the music industry last week and provided...more

29 May 2020 | Press release

Björn Ulvaeus elected as the next President of CISAC

Björn Ulvaeus has been appointed President of CISAC, the global confederation of authors’ societies and the largest network of creators worldwide. Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson are one of the most successful songwriting duos of all time. Ulvaeus, co-founder of ABBA...more

29 May 2020 | Press release

BBC Radio 1 creates world’s biggest nightclub on BBC Sounds to celebrate 25 years in Ibiza

BBC Radio 1 will be bringing the magic of Ibiza to households in the UK and around the world by turning BBC Sounds into the world’s biggest nightclub, from 31 July – 1 August 2020.  Radio 1’s legacy on the White...more

29 May 2020 | Press release

MusicMap Lets You Travel the World Without Breaking Lockdown

Take your ears on tour at MusicMap.Global   From Armenian pianists to Zambian rappers, MusicMap is the first music blog to feature music from every nation in the world... The Covid-19 pandemic may have made international travel all but impossible, but one music...more

28 May 2020 | Press release

The Orchard Unveils Enhanced OrchardGo App To Empower Artists

The Orchard today rolled out a new feature set for its mobile app OrchardGo, now available on both iOS and Android. The additional features will enable artists and their teams to strategically release new music based on an artist's social...more

28 May 2020 | Press release

Help Musicians launches second phase of Covid-19 Financial Hardship Funding

This second wave of hardship support will help those ineligible for government emergency safety nets or unable to survive on what they receive   Help Musicians, the independent 99-year-old charity, today announced plans to open a new financial hardship fund targeted at self-employed musicians who do...more

28 May 2020 | Press release

Brand New Live Streaming Platform Launches - Clubify   Clubify is a brand new streaming platform that launches this Friday with a huge line up in association with EGG London. The innovative platform operates on a fair pay, fair play basis and what's more, free memberships are currently on...more

04 Jun 2020

  • Warner Music lands $1.9bn share sale for owner Len Blavatnik (see Business)

  • Report highlights how the global music industry will decline in 2020 (see Analysis)

03 Jun 2020

  • Hipgnosis Songs Fund provides trading update ahead of annual results (see Business)

  • Warner Music to list on the US Nasdaq today (see Business)

  • #BlackOutTuesday: Resources and features (see News)

02 Jun 2020

  • #TheShowMustBePaused

01 Jun 2020

  • Dipesh Parmar now President of Ministry of Sound Recordings (see Business)

  • Tencent Holdings in talks for Warner Music Group stake (see Business)

  • Björn Ulvaeus appointed President of CISAC (see Business)

  • Music companies support Black Out Tuesday (see News)

29 May 2020

  • UK Music calls on the Government to honour its support pledge to the self-employed (see News)

  • Apple Music launches playlist series focussing on producers (see Digital)

28 May 2020

  • 'Distinctive local stations' to be lost as Bauer Media creates largest commercial radio network (see Media)

27 May 2020

  • Warner Music Group launches IPO (see Business, Analysis)

  • BBC to broadcast archive highlights to replace Glastonbury coverage (see Media)

26 May 2020

  • Plight of music magazine hightlighted (see Media)

  • UK Music calls for the government to back a plan for a Musicians’ Passport (see News)

  • Southbank Centre could face closure until next April (see News)

22 May 2020

  • Global Spotify staff allowed to work home for rest of year (see Digital)

  • US Copyright Office: safe-harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act now favours tech companies over rights-holders (see International)

21 May 2020

  • Live Nation secures $1.2bn debt to boost liquidity (see Business)

  • ERA CEO welcomes the debate on making the recorded music business work better for artists (see Opinion)