Listen Local First supports talented independent musicians in developing their art form, building their brand and cultivating their fanbase. It is for these very reasons that we believe a merger that threatens the development of new digital distribution services and the ability of consumers to access new music at an affordable price is one that needs to be stopped.
As an artist or a music consumer, YOU can Help Stop the Music Monopoly!
HERE is a link to an Op Ed we published in the Huffington Post titled “Tell the FTC to STOP the Music Monopoly – Support Music Freedom” We have highlighted some key points from the article below.
Why the Merger is Bad for the Independent Music Community
- Universal Music Group/ EMI (UMG) will own 40% of the recorded music market.
- Sony ATV Publishing will become the largest music publisher in the world with rights to up to 750,000 songs including the Beatles catalog.
- Digital distribution services have to negotiate licenses with the major labels, and competition is essential for these negotiations. A major label that gains control of 40% of sound recordings would have the power to demand significantly more for its catalog and to choose, for its own purposes, the winners and losers in this market.
- Without a licensing agreement from the now-largest label, a digital music service would lose traffic and advertising and become unsustainable. If these smaller digital services go under and new ones are prevented from entering the market, these artists will lose additional avenues of exposure and essentially forfeit their bargaining power for higher rates. Higher rates for the services mean smaller payments for independent musicians.
- A mega label with unchallenged market power could withdraw significant portions of its publishing catalog from performance rights organizations.
- Individually negotiating for publishing rights with labels would be detrimental to webcasters and streaming music sites. With limited or higher-priced access to playlists, web traffic would stagnate, advertising dollars would dry up, and new programming targeted at local markets that feature independent artists would disappear.
- Due to higher licensing fees from the labels, music services will be forced to offset those costs by raising prices on the consumer end.
- Finally, higher prices to legitimately access the digital music market will force consumers to find alternate illegitimate music sites that do not compensate artists. Those artists that will take the hardest hit will be the independent artist.