CMA to probe music streaming market

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The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced its intention to launch a market study into music streaming.

Following discussion by the CMA Board, CMA will now carry out work to consider and develop the final scope of the market study, before formally launching it as soon as possible.

The CMA has written to the Government and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee to outline its intended next steps.

“The UK has a love affair with music and is home to many of the world’s most popular artists,” noted Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA. “We want to do everything we can to ensure that this sector is competitive, thriving and works in the interests of music lovers.”

“Over the past decade, the music industry has evolved almost beyond recognition, with streaming now accounting for more than 80 per cent of all music listened to in this country. A market study will help us to understand these radical changes and build a view as to whether competition in this sector is working well or whether further action needs to be taken,” he advised.

Market studies are a key tool used by the CMA to identify – and, if appropriate, to consider how best to tackle – any competition and consumer issues.

The CMA has a number of ongoing pieces of work promoting competition in digital markets. These include investigating Google’s ‘privacy sandbox’, Facebook’s use of ad data and Apple’s AppStore. It also launched the Digital Markets Unit (DMU), in April, which is operating in shadow form pending legislation that will provide it with its full powers. Separately to the proposed market study, an independent CMA panel is investigating Sony’s completed acquisition of ‘artist and label’ services provider AWAL.

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight has welcomed the decision to carry out a full market study into music streaming and the dominance of the major music groups. “We welcome the decision by the CMA to urgently carry out a competition inquiry into music streaming and the dominance of the major music groups,” said Knight. “That the CMA has made this a priority is a big result for the DCMS Committee, endorsing one of the key recommendations of our inquiry into music streaming. Our investigation exposed fundamental problems within the structure of the music industry itself. This action marks a key step forward,” he stated.


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