New Zealand Indies 'Disappointed' By Universal's Merger Approval

25 June 2012 | 2:10 pm | Scott Fitzsimons

Independent Music New Zealand have opposed the Universal-EMI deal

New Zealand's independent music body - Independent Music New Zealand [IMNZ] - have expressed their "disappointment" in the decision of the NZ Commerce Commission over the proposed Universal Music Group's acquisition of EMI Music's recorded music division.

The Commerce Commission gave the deal the green light last week, which came as a boost to Universal's ongoing arguments in America and Europe.

IMNZ had submitted an opposing argument to the Commission which, "paid particular attention to the resulting effects of the proposed merger on the local NZ music industry and argued that the consequences would include less investment in local music; lower quality, restricted consumer choice; restricted access to innovative music delivery platforms; less musical and cultural diversity; diminished pluralism; and restricted value/pricing - all equally detrimental ways of exploiting increased market power."

In their decision the Commission said they were "of the view that the merged entity would continue to face strong competition from other major record labels and independent record labels for the discovery and recording of artists, and the promotion and distribution of recorded music."

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Ben Howe, Chair of IMNZ and the owner of label Arch Hill Recordings, said, "I believe that independent and New Zealand artists should have a fair shot at getting both exposure and income from the music they make.

"Unfortunately, the proposed merger would result in market-dominance by one large multinational player, and that could make our goal harder. Although we are collectively disappointed with this ruling, I think the final decision will be determined outside New Zealand. We wish our fellow international independents the best of luck in blocking this proposal."