Independent record labels are launching a lawsuit to challenge the merger of music industry heavyweights Sony and BERTELSMANN (BMG) after it was given the go-ahead by the EUROPEAN UNION.

IMPALA, the organisation which represents 2,500 independent labels, is opposing the merger which it claims will create a 'market imbalance' because ratification for the creation of SONY BMG means that 80 per cent of the world's music is owned by only four corporations.

ALISON WENHAM, vice president of Impala, asserts, "We have taken this unprecedented step for what we believe to be the long term health of the entire music industry and all its stakeholders.

"The threat of a duopoly operating in the business without any real constraints is too great for any serous company or sector to ignore. The independents deserved better from the EU, and it is our intention to ensure that the facts of our case are properly respected."

Impala's president, MICHEL LAMBOT, adds, "This is about protecting European as well as worldwide cultural diversity and self-determination in a world where globalisation means Hollywood."

03/11/2004 17:59