Europe approves Universal - EMI merger, cements the dominance of the 'big three'

The European Union has signed off on Universal's $1.9 billion purchase of EMI music, provided that it sells off two-thirds of the fallen giant's assets to comply with competition regulations. The most notable jewel on the auction block is label Parlophone, home of the early Beatles records, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Kylie. Chiefs added the conditions in the hope of preventing the new mega-corporation from gaining too much market share, but given that Sony (which bought EMI's publishing arm) and Warner Music are its only real competitors -- it's sealed the trio as the only guests at the top table of the music industry, problematic for anyone looking to found an iTunes or Spotify rival and doesn't fancy playing by their rules.