IMPALA said: “The formal process has started in Brussels where the European Commission has consistently shown it will take a stance to ensure its competition rules are properly respected. Commissioner Almunia has already underlined the importance of the contribution made by independent music companies. This is a crucial moment for the development of the online music market with European services leading the charge. What kind of legacy will Europe give those companies? How does Europe want its artists and consumers to be treated? We look to Commissioner Almunia to take urgent action. It’s red card time.”
YouTube is accused of sending contracts to small labels offering worse terms than those already signed by major labels, and trying to force them to sign by threatening to remove their videos from its existing free service if they decline. That has infuriated the labels, which don’t believe the two should be connected – and so say Google’s business is abusing its monopoly in video to force a position in that of music subscriptions. If the EC’s antitrust division agrees, and decides the move is anticompetitive, Google could face hefty fines.
“The formal process has started in Brussels where the European Commission has consistently shown it will take a stance to ensure its competition rules are properly respected,” said Helen Smith, executive chair of Impala, in a statement.