Ministry of Sound And AIM Exchange Blows Over WMG Merger and NDA
Ministry of Sound, the grounded U.K. dance music label, has issued its second “open letter” to Association of Independent Music (AIM) in just two days, targeting Warner Music Group and bashing AIM’s acceptance of a Non-Disclosure Agreement covering the deal with the major label.
The London-based firm had earlier resigned from AIM, the U.K. independent music companies’ trade body, in protest of Impala’s support of WMG’s bid for EMI. AIM is a member of Impala, the Brussels-based trade body for European independent music firms. As a ground-swell developed against the trade body, AIM hosted an emergenc” board meeting at its London headquarters, during which its key executives drilled into the confidential documentation on Impala’s agreement with WMG.
MoS Music Group managing director Lohan Presencer attended the early part of the meeting, but baulked at the NDA which was put on the table for all attendees to sign. “If WMG wish this matter to be resolved without reference to the European Commission, then they must and will agree to the terms of the agreement with Impala being debated openly and transparently,” MoS wrote in its latest letter, issued by its legal representatives Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons.
In the letter, MoS adds that it is prepared to attend AIM’s upcoming monthly board meeting next Tuesday, at which the terms of agreement will be further analysed. However, it says it will only join on the condition that the restricted document was “disclosed in advance and publicly circulated” and without constraints. Warner Music Group declined to comment on the NDA. In addition to MoS, fellow AIM member Gut subsequently followed the dance label’s lead, and exited AIM.
Now it starts to get nasty
The Association of Independent Music (AIM) has replied to the legal letters received from Ministry of Sound’s lawyers. The response is a full and complete rebuttal of every material criticism and accusation implied and insinuated by the company’s open correspondence. AIM and its executives are reserving all their rights against Ministry of Sound.
“AIM chooses not to conduct its business in this manner, nor will it reciprocate Ministry’s method of campaigning. Accordingly, AIM’s response has been sent directly to Ministry of Sound’s lawyers. AIM’s priority is and has always been to its Members – be this during negotiations with new media businesses, in disputes with practitioners of copyright apartheid or as part of its regular Member services.”