Top executives from the music industry are scheduled to visit Washington Thursday to testify about Universal Music Group’s proposed purchase of EMI.
The deal would merge two of the big 4 music companies – a consolidation that has drawn criticism from competitors and consumer groups.
As our chart below shows, the music distributors, parent companies and lobby firms include some Washington powerhouses. (An interactive version can be found on Muckety.)
Citigroup, which acquired EMI after it defaulted on loans, agreed in November to sell the record labels to Universal Music for $1.9 billion. It signed a separate deal with Sony Corp. to sell off EMI’s publishing unit.
The Universal-EMI merger is being reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission and the European Union, as well as by the Senate antitrust subcommittee.
Among those scheduled to appear before the Senate subcommittee are Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group; EMI chief Roger C. Faxon; Irving L. Azoff, head of Live Nation Entertainment; and Edgar Bronfman, Jr., former chairman and a current director of Warner Music Group.
Bronfman, a billionaire who sold Warner Music to Access Industries last year, has pledged to lobby against the merger, both in the U.S. and in Europe.
“Warner is going to fight this tooth and nail,” he said at a January media conference.
Last week, two groups, the Consumer Federation of America and Public Knowledge, sent a report to the Federal Trade Commission, arguing that the deal would limit competition.
Anticipating an opposition drive, Universal has signed up with two additional shops in the past two months: Capital Hill Strategies and Podesta Group. It already had a contract with Bingham McCutcheon.
This table shows lobby expenditures for major players:
|Citigroup||$1,520,000||$5,470,000||owner of EMI|
|Universal Music Group||$980,000||$3,670,000||proposed buyer|
|Sony Corp.||$917,000||$3,610,000||parent of Sony Music|
|Warner Music Group||$360,272||$440,000||subsid of Access Industries|
|Access Industries||$60,000||$240,000||parent of Warner Music|
|Live Nation Entertainment||$55,000||$220,000||strategic partner of Universal|
|Future of Music Coalition||$20,000||$80,000||artists group|
|Consumer Federation of America||$10,000||$60,000||consumer group|
|Public Knowledge||$0||$10,000||consumer group|
Sources: First Street, Center for Responsive Politics, U.S. Senate Office of Public Records
Several members of the Senate subcommittee have received campaign donations from companies interested in the outcome of the hearings. The following table shows all the members and contributions reported thus far in the 2012 electon cycle:
|Member||Universal Music||Citigroup||Warner Music||Vivendi||Edgar Bronfman Jr.|
|Herb Kohl (D-WI) (chair)|
|Chuck Schumer (D-NY)||$500|
|Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)||$1,500||$1,000||$7,779||$1,000|
|Al Franken (D-MN)|
|Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)||$2,000||$2,000|
|Michael S. Lee (R-UT)|
|Chuck Grassley (R-IA)|
|John Cornyn (R-TX)||$1,000|
Sources: Federal Election Commission, Center for Responsive Politics
Follow Laurie Bennett on Twitter: @Muckety.