Originally published: June 21, 2012
Last updated: June 21, 2012 - 9:05pm
The chief executives of Universal Music Group and EMI defended their planned merger during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.
Senators pressed Lucian Grainge, the CEO of Universal, to address concerns that the deal will stifle competition in the music industry and concentrate power in the hands of a single "super major" label. Grainge repeatedly argued that his company has an incentive to sell its music to as broad an audience as possible. Subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) said he had heard Grainge is a smart and tough executive. "You don't seem to answer questions," Kohl said, "which is part of your smartness and your toughness." Gigi Sohn, president of advocacy group Public Knowledge, noted that a combined Universal-EMI would have accounted for 51 of the Billboard Hot 100 songs in 2011, and said consumers would ignore any new online service that didn't offer that host of popular artists.
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