Feeds

Labels charged with price-fixing – again

Cough it up for The Three Tenors

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

A pair of major music labels have been hit with another round of price-fixing charges courtesy of the FTC - a decision which raises the question as to who exactly is to blame for falling music revenue.

In a unanimous decision, members of the U.S. FTC (Federal Trade Comission) chastised Vivendi Universal and Warner Communications for restricting competition in the sale of "The Three Tenors" - Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti - audio and video products. It seems that PolyGram (a company later bought by Vivendi) conspired with Warner "to curb discounting and advertising to boost sales of recordings that the two companies jointly had distributed based on the tenors' concert in Paris during the 1998 soccer World Cup."

Based on these practices, the FTC has arrived at a stunning ruling.

"The Commission's order bars PolyGram from agreeing with competitors to fix the prices or restrict the advertising of products they produced independently."

The labels deny any wrongdoing, which should not come as a shock. The labels also denied earlier charges from the FTC of a much larger price-fixing scandal that cost consumers an estimated $480 million. The pigopolists agreed to settle that little incident by paying 41 suing states $67.4 million in cash and offering $75.7 million in CDs.

How many price-fixing scandals will it take before the government begins to question how serious the labels' losses to P2P file trading really are? Do grandparents and children pose more of a threat to the music industry than its own executives?

Even a cursory glance over the labels' sales figures for the last decade (PDF) show that music sales have held up far better than products from a number of industries - most notably IT.

As the tech industry imploded between 2000-2001, the labels saw revenue decline but 4.1 percent. From 2001-2002, music and DVD sales combined fell only 8.2 percent, and this is during a worldwide economic slump.

The labels' biggest losses, by far, come from a staggering drop in cassette, LP and vinyl sales.

A down economy and more competition in CD prices would seem to account for a large chunk of the downward revenue trends.

Also, keep in mind that the labels enjoyed tremendous growth throughout the 1990s - the prime price-fixing years, according to the FTC. Sales in 2002 were almost twice that of sales in 1993. Few industries have enjoyed such success.

Wouldn't it be tragic for the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) to put a stop to P2P technology because a few multi-national conglomerates can't milk consumers as in times past? As the economy begins to show signs of recovery, keep a close on those music sales figures. Don't be surprised to see them rise again with or without P2P's help. ®

Related Link

FTC statement

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.