Smoke on the Water: Sony BMG Gets PROBED

Recently, Deep Purple frontdude Ian Gillan asked fans not to buy the re-released live album NEC 1993, calling it "an unfortunate reminder of one of their worst ever concerts... It was one of the lowest points of my life -- all of our lives, actually." An artist telling fans NOT to buy an album?? Apparently, our favorite -- or at least my favorite -- major label can-o-worms Sony BMG was responsible for re-releasing the album without even discussing it with Deep Purple.

"Sony BMG is not in the business of releasing albums without the knowledge of the artists," said a spokesperson for Sony BMG. "It is in our interests to work with artists, so they can promote their records and continue to work with us."

Haha, cute. It is in this spirit that I announce the news that, according to Reuters, the European Commision is set to formally announce today that it intends to launch a 4-month probe into the Sony and Bertelsmann merger. You know the story: Sony and Bertelsmann merge in 2004, Impala gets mad and influences the Court of First Instance in 2006 to annul the merger, TMT covers it all with penetrating, in-depth coverage, and now we're left with a penetrating, in-depth probe.

The probe allows the Commission to demand classified data and hold hearings, ultimately so it can decide whether to demand changes to the company, block the deal altogether, or let them mother fuckers be. Earlier, however, Sony and Bertelsmann appealed the Court of First Instance, so even if the Commission blocks the merger, their appeal would most likely happen soon afterward, which could eventually lead to a legal quagmire.

The Commission still has officially 90 working days to make a final decision on this investigation. The second-phase probe will launch officially if concerns over competition can't be relieved within the first month of the first-phase of investigations. Confusing, but we'll keep you updated.

For the record, Sony BMG has recalled the Deep Purple album. Hopefully now it can convince Jamiroquai's Jay Kay not to concentrate on his personal life, or the future of Sony BMG will look really fucked.