Recently, the European Commission gave Sony the green light to acquire the publishing branch of music company EMI. Sony will pay just over two billion dollars for the deal. Universal Music Group might soon acquire EMI’s recorded music branch for around the same amount of money. This part of the deal is still under consideration.
Last year, Citigroup made the announcement that it would sell Universal Music Group for over four billion dollars. Many people were surprised at the announcement, and disapproved of the ultimate size of the already large company. The artists themselves might seem to disapprove the most.
The main objection is in regard to new music. When dealing with such a huge entity, critics say, it becomes next to impossible for new, independent music to have a chance. However, as others note, many of these groups have self-publishing avenues, and there seems to be an ever-increasing audience for the smallest of small bands with the online elements on the rise in the music world.
The expenditures on such a large scale come as a bit of a surprise to anyone casually following the world of new media, where large publishers push legislation under the pretense that they’re business has been struggling to to online piracy. Such claims are not exactly in line with a company potentially spending 4 billion in back catalog acquisition.
The recent actions in Europe may actually be a sign that the huge companies have less power, and that there isn’t the risk of monopoly that there once was in the music world. It remains to be seen how much this sort of merger will affect the climate of the music recording and publishing arenas.