UK music streaming market under competitive scrutiny | Music industry

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The UK competition watchdog will launch a market study of the music streaming market to make sure it is competitive after dramatic changes in the industry over the past decade.

The Markets Authority said the music industry has evolved “almost beyond recognition”, with streaming accounting for over 80% of all music listened to in the UK. Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of CMA, said market research would help the regulator understand these changes.

Coscelli said: “The UK has a love affair with music and is home to many of the world’s most popular artists. We want to do everything in our power to ensure that this sector is competitive, prosperous and works in the interests of music lovers.

“Market research will help us understand these drastic changes and determine whether competition in this industry is working well or if further action needs to be taken. “

The regulator is continuing its work to define the final scope of the market study, before formally launching it “as soon as possible”.

Regardless of the market research, an independent CMA panel is investigating Sony’s $ 430million (£ 312million) acquisition of artist and record label service provider AWAL, which has released music for artists such as Little Simz, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and brother and collaborator Finneas.

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The CMA said last month that the distribution of recorded music in the UK was dominated by three major groups – Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music – and the buyout could result in worse deals for musicians. If this had not been the case, AWAL could have continued to become a significant alternative competitor, argued the watchdog.

The music streaming investigation is the regulator’s latest step in its efforts to increase competition in digital markets.

It is investigating Amazon and Google concerns that tech companies haven’t done enough to tackle the widespread problem of fake reviews on their websites. The CMA launched in April a digital markets unit, which operates in phantom form pending legislation that will give it all its powers.


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