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In the Matter of Universal Music & Video Distribution Corp.and UMG Recordings, Inc.
FTC Matter/File Number
Docket Number
Enforcement Type
Part 2 Consents

Case Summary

The FTC charged that five distributors of recorded music illegally required retailers to advertise compact discs at or above the minimum advertised price (MAP) set by the distribution company in exchange for substantial advertising payments for various types of media including television, radio, newspaper and signs and banners within the retailers own stores. Time-Warner Inc., Bertlesmann, Universal Music and Video Distribution Corporation and UMG Recordings, Inc., EMI Music Distribution, and Sony Music Entertainment represent approximately 85 percent of all CD’s purchased in the United States. According to the complaint, the MAP policies violated the antitrust laws in two respects. First, when considered together, the arrangements constitute practices that facilitate horizontal collusion among the distributors, and, when viewed individually, each distributor's arrangement constitutes an unreasonable vertical restraint of trade under the rule of reason.  In separate settlements, each distributor agreed to stop linking promotional funds to the advertised prices of their retailer customers for the next seven years. For the next 13 years after that, each company was prohibited from conditioning promotional money on the prices contained in advertisements they do not pay for, or terminating relationships with any retailer based on that retailer's prices.