Feeds

Labels charged with price-fixing – again

Cough it up for The Three Tenors

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC
More protests planned against giga-tariff for Tuesday evening
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.