MARCH 4 I FTC I LEGAL
FTC Ends NAMM Investigation
On March 4, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and NAMM entered a consent agreement, ending the FTC’s investigation of the music products trade association. The FTC had alleged that NAMM enabled and encouraged its members to share competitively sensitive price information at various meetings and programs between 2005 and 2007. Under the settlement, the FTC no longer makes such allegations.
According to statement from NAMM, the agreement will not require any fundamental changes to NAMM’s core activities or constitute admission of wrongdoing. Still, under the terms of the settlement, NAMM will “enhance various internal policies and procedures” relating to the ways the organization communicates and works with its staff and members. The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, through April 2, after which the FTC will decide whether to make it final.
“Rather than pursuing costly and time-consuming litigation on this matter, we are choosing to put it behind us so that NAMM can concentrate on our primary mission of strengthening the global music products industry and increasing active participation in music making,” read the statement.
At press time, no music retailers or suppliers involved in the FTC’s industry-wide investigation had reported similar settlements. However, Fender Musical Instruments Corp. (FMIC), one of the companies under investigation, issued the following statement: “FMIC has no reason to believe the FTC will take action against it or any other trade association, manufacturer or retailer in the MI industry as a result of its investigation.”