SONY/BMG MERGER CHALLENGED

The indies say the proposal would lead to a "market imbalance"...

Independent Music Companies are challenging the merger of SONY and BERTELSMANN (BMG) saying it would lead to a “market imbalance”.

If the two majors are allowed to come together it would mean that 80% of the world’s music is owned by just four companies.

The 2,500 independent labels are being represented by Impala who are fighting for recognition that the merger would go against principles of a competitive marketplace.

Vice-President of Impala, Alison Wenham, said: “We have taken this unprecedented step for what we believe to be the long term health of the entire music industry and all its stakeholders.”

“The threat of a duopoly operating in the business without any real constraints is too great for any serious company or sector to ignore.

“The independents deserved better from the EU, and it is our intention to ensure that the facts of our case are properly respected,” she added.

Impala’s president Michel Lambot said: “This is about protecting European as well as worldwide cultural diversity and self-determination in a world where globalisation means Hollywood.”

If the merger goes ahead, the company would be the second biggest music group in the world after Vivendi’s Universal.