The EU Commission is currently undertaking an assessment of a merger project between Universal and EMI (in respect to its phonographic activities) and between Sony and EMI (in respect to its music publishing activities).
As they are today, the four major record companies (Universal, Sony, EMI, Warner) already represent a high market concentration. For performers, this means weak bargaining power and hyper-standardised, disadvantageous contracts. The disappearance of EMI as an autonomous actor would entail an increased concentration of the market forces into a duopoly (Universal/Sony), which can only be expected to further deteriorate this already imbalanced situation.
The EMI-Universal merger can only be expected to further deteriorate an already imbalanced situation
The problems that artists have been facing in the traditional market for many years are even worsening in the digital world, from which they usually receive insignificant incomes. Should the mergers be authorised by the EU Commission, artists would lose one of the remaining few alternative routes to access the mass market. The new duopoly would also mean less investment, lower quality, fewer jobs, narrowed consumer choice as well as reduced cultural diversity.