American indies are gathering together:
- Independent record labels in the U.S. are drawing up plans for a new trade association to handle copyright negotiations and distribution deals for the music industry.
The association is expected to link several hundred record labels, with details due to be hammered out at meetings next month in New York and Los Angeles.
Executives from more than 150 independent music companies have discussed a preliminary framework for the association, which has a working title of American Music Independents.
Those labels account for almost $2.5 billion of annual music sales in the US, or 19 per cent of the country’s near-$13 billion music sales. But they have a far larger proportion of online music retailing at closer to 30 per cent of the small but growing market, executives involved in the negotiations said.
….It is understood that American Music Independents would be a complementary organization to the RIAA.
But the new association is likely to be more aggressive in negotiating broadcasting rights on behalf of the independents and concerned with the perceived market dominance of the so-called majors, including Universal Music, Warner, Britain’s EMI, Sony and BMG.
“It’s about ensuring the market access for small and medium-sized labels; they have a different business model to the multinationals,” said one person involved in the talks. [Financial Times]
Certainly the theories of collective action apply here: together the indies control a significant portion of the business while no one of them has much clout alone, and their needs are very different from those of the majors. I’ll bet they won’t sue their customers.