UMG’s Vinyl Spin Ominous For Independent Record Labels

IIn a recent press release Universal Media Group Distribution (UMGD) announced its decision to jump onto the bandwagon of Record Store Day, which celebrates the importance and vitality of independent music stores.

UMGD will release exclusive vinyl titles from some of its biggest artists in celebration of the annual event, which is this year scheduled for 21 April.

According to UMG, Record Store Day began as “a celebration of the unique culture surrounding independently owned records stores in the US, and hundreds of similar stores internationally. On this day, independently-owned record stores come together with artists and labels [bold italics added by the author] to celebrate music with special releases and promotional products and events”.

It’s interesting, therefore, that UMG is so keen to celebrate independent record stores, while its policy towards independent record labels is so discouraging.

Should UMG’s acquisition of EMI’s recorded-music division be given the green light by the European Union’s competition regulator, it will own 40% of the recorded music market.

The media’s coverage of the event is one of reticence. Little fuss has been raised regarding the prospect of the monopoly such a deal will create.

It seems that the UK media, who have pushed the issue only to a degree, are only truly willing to oppose a monopoly if the matter is personal, as was the case when Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation withdrew its bid for BSkyB, a British satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company, after heavy pressure from the British press and Parliament.

UMG proudly shouts that Record Store Day brings together independently-owned records stores and artists and labels. With UMG’s planned 40% market share, will there be many other labels to bring to future years’ events?

It seems that UMG has no interest in the “importance and vitality” of independent record labels. What makes independent stores any different in the major’s eyes?

Samuel Agini is the Editor of Andrew Apanov’s Dotted Music. Email him at