Future of Music After Universal Music Group’s 1.9 Billion Dollar Acquisition of EMI

Universal Music Group’s 1.9 Billion Dollar purchase has officially been completed. After months of deliberations with both European and American fair trade regulators, the deal has been approved. Much of the deliberations involved Universal being required to sell off various assets of EMI so that it was not a de facto monopoly in music. To give you an idea of the magnitude of these asset sales, one of the labels they sold off included acts such as Coldplay. So, now that the dust has settled, is this a good thing for the industry? Over the past few months various music groups have come out against the deal as creating unfair competition in the music industry. I will concede, that usually consolidation of large companies (like Univeral-EMI) result in unfair pricing, unfair competition, and other exploitations as the market leader position. BUT, I’m going to take a different route and be hopeful for the good that could occur.

The acquisition of EMI by Universal will enable both companies to eliminate redundant jobs. This elimination of redundant positions and increase in efficiency will hopefully result in them investing more in artist development and an even broader artist roster. Looking at the labels acquired in the deal it quickly becomes apparent how diverse the music is in this acquisition: Capitol Records, Def Jam Recordings, Capitol Nashville Recordings, Island Recordings, Universal Music Nashville, Virgin Records, Blue Note, EMI Records, Interscope Records, and more.

`               Another notable point made by UMG Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge is that, “EMI is finally returning to people who have music in their blood.” Since February 2012, EMI had been acquired by dun dun dunnnnn Citigroup. So with this sale going to Universal and Sony acquiring EMI publishing, these music entities are no longer owned by venture capitalist. These entities are now in the hands of people who are actually in the music business. One of the most frustrating things I’ve found in the music industry , whether its live music or labels or any other aspect, is the unscrupulous people who are only in it for the money and not the love of music. It’s good to at least know that people who have made their life in music will now be able to lead the future of EMI, Universal, and the industry.

Long-term, I think it’s hard to say whether this will be a great thing, a bad thing, or have little impact on the industry. But I always like to look toward the horizon with my focus on the great possibilities.