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."

27 Jun 2019 | Press release

Warner Chappell Music signs Monique Lawz

Warner Chappell Music, the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, has signed a worldwide deal with UK R&B and soul singer-songwriter Monique Lawz. Monique has been building a strong reputation in both the UK and the US, already securing a...more

27 Jun 2019 | Press release

Universal Music Publishing Group signs Idris Elba to global publishing deal

UMPG to sub-publish artists on Elba's record label, 7Wallace   Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), a leading global publishing company, today announced that multitalented artist Idris Elba has been signed to an exclusive, worldwide publishing agreement. A true creative master, Elba is an accomplished musician, songwriter,...more

26 Jun 2019 | Press release

Nile Rodgers to be crowned Artists’ Artist at the 2019 Artist & Manager Awards

The CHIC co-founder and music legend to receive the coveted award for extraordinary innovation and creativity The A&MAs return to the Bloomsbury Big Top on Thursday 14th November     The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and Music Managers Forum (MMF) are delighted to announce...more

26 Jun 2019 | Press release

Kobalt Signs Pop Singer-Songwriter Hayley Kiyoko

Pop Icon & VMA and Billboard’s Rising Star Award Winner Inks Worldwide Publishing Deal   Kobalt today announced an exclusive worldwide agreement with Hayley Kiyoko. The partnership with Kiyoko includes publishing administration, creative services and synch for all of her catalogue...more

26 Jun 2019 | Press release

Artists United; The Featured Artists Coalition celebrates 10 years

For a decade, the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) has been fighting for equality, recognition, fairness and transparency for music makers. This week the FAC threw a mighty birthday celebration, showing that the only body run by artists, for artists, is...more

25 Jun 2019 | Press release

Pivotal Music Conference, Birmingham - Announces "Houses" and First Content for the Day

- Main Sponsors for 2019 include: ACM, WARM, The MPG, The BPI, ROTOR Videos, AIM, AWAL and Awesome Merchandise- Partners include: CD Baby, Spinnup, Believe,- One Day International Conference returning for second year taking place on the 27th September (09:30...more

25 Jun 2019 | Press release

Help Musicians’ 360-degree Do It Differently Fund supports more artists than ever in latest awardee announcement

57 musicians hailing from the breadth of the UK, performing an eclectic mix of genres, represent the diverse nature of DIY music   Help Musicians UK, the nearly 100-year-old independent charity, is incredibly proud to announce the second cohort of artists supported...more

25 Jun 2019 | Press release

Partisan Records Appoints Theresa Adebiyi as Creative Director

Label Celebrates Wins at Libera Awards   Partisan Records, the independent label with offices in New York, Los Angeles and London, has appointed Theresa Adebiyi as Creative Director. Theresa, whose appointment is effective immediately, joins the company from Ninja Tune, where she was...more

24 Jun 2019 | Press release

BMG Production Music partners with Sounds of Red Bull

BMG Production Music (BMGPM) - the world’s fastest-growing production music company, servicing the film, broadcast, games and advertising industries - has announced its partnership with Red Bull Media House in a deal that will see BMGPM represent its Sounds of...more

24 Jun 2019 | Press release

Latest BPI ‘Wisdom Wednesdays’ event focuses on the music business career paths ‘less travelled’

July 10th panel includes representatives from Warner Music UK, Abbey Road, Lewis Silkin & Kobalt, exploring music careers beyond the traditional roles   UK record labels association the BPI has announced the fifth edition of its popular “Wisdom Wednesdays” event, which returns to Gibson Brands, 61-62...more

21 Jun 2019 | Press release

a-ha's Take On Me video approaches one billion views

a-ha Is Celebrating The Milestone With A Contest That Lets Fans Predict The Exact Date And Time Of When The Iconic Video Will Reach One Billion Views On YouTubeThe Song Is Already The #2 Most-Viewed Video From The ’80s On...more

20 Jun 2019 | Press release

Iceland Airwaves announce 3rd wave of acts


20 Jun 2019 | Press release

Wireless Festival and MelodyVR join forces for live Virtual Reality broadcast

MelodyVR launch brand new mobile app giving an unlimited number of music fans the chance to witness the festival in Virtual Reality via their phones   Wireless Festival, the leading event for urban music and hip hop is set to go global...more

20 Jun 2019 | Press release

Johnny Marr to Headline Inaugural AIM Awards Live Show & Receive Pioneer Award

BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne to host Roundhouse-based ceremony Award submissions extended until 24th June Iconic guitarist and former Smiths member Johnny Marr is set to showcase his legendary talents as the headliner for AIM Independent Music Awards’ first ever live show. Before...more

20 Jun 2019 | Press release

UK Music throws Summer Party at Southbank Centre

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright paid tribute to UK Music for a “fantastic year” supporting the music industry at our summer party.Speaking at the event attended by a host of senior politicians and music industry leaders at the Southbank Centre, Mr...more

19 Jun 2019 | Press release

Voisey attracts high profile investors ahead of planned US launch

New short form music format gaining traction prior to international expansion Voisey, the mobile music app that allows users to record short videos using professional vocal effects and backing tracks provided by hundreds of credible producers has attracted a series of...more

19 Jun 2019 | Press release

Deezer Launches lyric sharing on Instagram Stories

- New shareable feature allows fans to post favourite lyrics from Deezer- Deezer users can play the full song, direct from Instagram Stories Deezer, the global streaming service, now lets music fans express exactly how they feel through song lyrics on...more

19 Jun 2019 | Press release

The Kerrang! Awards

METALLICA, GHOST, BRING ME THE HORIZON, ARCHITECTS, IDLES AND MORE HONOURED AT THE ANNUAL KERRANG! AWARDS   The most raucous night in the awards calendar - the Kerrang! Awards – returned to Islington Assembly Hall as the world's biggest rock stars turned out en masse. Three generations of...more

18 Jun 2019 | Press release

Next deadline for Steve Reid Innovation Award announced

PRS Foundation and the Steve Reid Foundation today announce that the next deadline for theSTEVE REID INNOVATION AWARD is Thursday 8th August 2019. The initiative provides an opportunity for emerging artists that make outstanding music to receive support in the form of: a grant...more

18 Jun 2019 | Press release

Merlin reveals record revenue distributions in new 2019 Membership Report

Since opening for business, Merlin has paid in excess of $2bn to thousands of independent labels and distributors worldwide. While it took 9 years to distribute our first billion dollars, it has taken only 18 months to distribute our second...more

18 Jun 2019 | Press release

The Shires sign to BMG

UK country phenomenon The Shires have chosen BMG to release their next album. The duo’s first three albums not only garnered near universal critical acclaim, but all three reached the Top 10 Official UK Albums Chart, an unprecedented feat for...more

18 Jun 2019 | Press release

Important update to labels and suppliers on Record Store Day 2020

Ahead of April 2020, Record Store Day UK are making important changes to the submission timeline for labels and suppliers.As RSD approaches its 13th year the organisers have had to consider the most practical and efficient way of coordinating over...more

18 Jun 2019 | Press release

Charles Caldas to step down as Merlin CEO

Charles Caldas has announced that he will step down as CEO of Merlin at the end of 2019 after more than 12 years at the helm of the global digital rights agency. Continuing his current duties until then, Charles is working with the...more

17 Jun 2019 | Press release

Rumer signs to Cooking Vinyl for special Nashville album project

Having already added four artists to their roster earlier this year, Cooking Vinyl’s A&R team are continuing to make big moves, signing a deal with award-winning British singer-songwriter Rumer for a worldwide royalty deal. Dubbed the “heir to Dusty Springfield” by...more

17 Jun 2019 | Press release

KISS switch-up the schedule in time for Summer

KISS have today launched a refreshed daytime schedule, which sees some presenters move into new roles on the station. Alex and Andrea, who have previously teamed up to host ‘Live@KISS’ from 3-7pm on weekdays, now host their own individual shows. Andrea...more

14 Jun 2019 | Press release

Music and Millennials helping to fuel the podcasting boom

New BPI Insight Session report explores dynamics & trends shaping the popularity of podcasts   A new report produced for record labels association the BPI highlights the scale of the current podcasting phenomenon and the extent to which this boom is being driven by...more

13 Jun 2019 | Press release

Jaxsta launches public beta of its pioneering music database

PLATFORM CONTAINS MORE THAN 100 MILLION MUSIC CREDITS ACROSS 25 MILLION WEBPAGES   Jaxsta Limited (ASX: JXT) has launched an open beta of its groundbreaking music database platform (    Founded in 2015 by Jacqui Louez Schoorl and Louis Schoorl, Jaxsta is positioned to...more

13 Jun 2019 | Press release

Concord expands classical and European interests by acquiring Sikorski Music Publishing

Sikorski Music Publishing will be combined with Concord Music Publishing's venerable Boosey & Hawkes division, bringing together two giants of Russian classical copyrights Concord is pleased to announce the acquisition of the esteemed classical music publisher, The Sikorski Music Publishing Group,...more

12 Jun 2019 | Press release

Hipgnosis acquires Sam Hollander catalogue

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 Sam Hollander,...more

12 Jun 2019 | Press release

IMRO choose ICE

Irish collecting society appoint ICE for Online Licensing   ICE and IMRO, the Irish Music Rights Organisation, are delighted to announce IMRO has become a direct customer of ICE’s Core Licence. Under the terms of the new agreement, ICE will provide a...more

27 Jun 2019

  • Speculation Vivendi's part sale of UMG may be delayed; plus US may block deal. Post-fire artist outreach plan announced. (see Business, News)

26 Jun 2019

  • 700 additional artists who lost recordings in the Universal Studios fire named. (see News)

25 Jun 2019

  • Hipgnosis reports first annual results. (see Business)

  • Universal Music's 'quiet revolution' to neurodiversity. (see Features)

  • Apple may earn as little as £1m per year from Spotify via 'app tax'. (see Digital)

  • Warner Music UK reports strong profit increase. (see Business)

24 Jun 2019

  • Universal Music Group sued over the fire that destroyed archived recordings. (see News)

  • Spotify wants money back from 'overpayment' to songwriters and publishers. (see News)

21 Jun 2019

  • Industry aims to combat streaming manipulation. (see News)

20 Jun 2019

  • Vivendi in no rush for Universal Music Group sale. (see Business)

  • Wireless Festival to be broadcast live on MelodyVR mobile app. (see Digital)

19 Jun 2019

  • Charles Caldas to step down as CEO of Merlin. (see News)

  • Merlin reports record revenue distributions. (see News)

  • Spotify backs Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency. (see Digital)

18 Jun 2019

  • Physical: Sony proposes closure of distribution site, HMV set to close two city stores. (see Business)

  • Universal's archivist says fire damage 'surprisingly overstated'. (see News)

17 Jun 2019

  • Universal likely to face legal action over 2008 fire losses. (see News)

  • Summer European festival market reported as 'slow'. (see Analysis)

14 Jun 2019

  • Spotify rolls out redesigned app for Premium users - with an increased emphasis on podcasts. (see Digital)