European Indie Labels to Vivendi’s Universal Music: Put It Back in Your Pants; TMT to American Indie Labels: Take a Hint, Already

Well, at least the Europeans give a shit. You see, Vivendi's subsidiary, our good friends Universal Music, have announced plans to acquire an itty bitty company known colloquially to a few industry insiders as BMG Music Publishing. Now, before you shoot yourself in the head (in this case colloquially known to teenagers everywhere as "dying for the sake of art"), take some solace in the fact that a group of European indie labels are making their dissent known.

Impala Independent Music Companies Association, which includes such heavy hitters as Beggars Group and V2, has launched a formal complaint against the merger. Martin Mills (pictured), Chairman of both Impala and Beggars Group, commented, "The strength of Universal in recording music would make this merger bad news for artists and music. It will also be particularly difficult for the regulators." By way of a response, BMG financial director Thomas Rabe basically said, "Up yours." I mean, he didn't actually say it, but we all know that's what he was thinking.

Now, unlike the dear old US of A, where challenging a corporate quasi-monopoly is functionally equivalent to telling the President to steal a few million dollars out of his own pocket, Impala actually has European precedent working in its favor. Last year, the group's protest against the Sony-BMG merger influenced a European court to overturn the European Commission's original ruling in favor of the conglomeration. Way back in 2000, they were able to block a merger between EMI and Warner Music Group.

Moral of the story? Sometimes David does beat Goliath. Just, um, not in this country. And Merge, Sub Pop, if you're listening out there, maybe it's time to prove me wrong.

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