Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Universal, Sony BMG formalise cartel deal for Asia

We often rib the RIAA with the claim that it's a cartel - obviously, the big four were colluding to rig the market in the US a few years back; they were upbraided for it, but carried on.

Now, Sony-BMG and Universal are apparently proud of working as a cartel in Asia. Being pitched as some sort of agreement to "resolve a variety of issues regarding the sale of online music in Asia", the two large businesses are going to be setting a single, secret rate to cover online music:

The two companies have, for the first time, set a specific, undisclosed rate for digital services in Southeast Asian countries, including Hong Kong, China, India, Taiwan and more, though rates had previously been established in Japan and Korea. Among the digital services that are included in the deal are audio and video downloads, subscriptions services and mobile products including ringtones, full-track downloads and mobile video.

A sensible move towards making things simple - or an attempt to rig the market in plain view? Given how much of the market the majors control, is it right that they should be exercising this sort of muscle in so many markets?


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