According to UK newspaper, The Guardian, the UK divisions of Korg and Roland have been fined a combined total of £5.5 million for online price fixing across the musical instrument industry.
Roland was fined over £4m and Korg £1.5m. "The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the companies had breached competition rules by restricting online discounting of their musical instruments. The practice, known as “resale price maintenance”, forced retailers to sell instruments at or above a minimum price.
"The watchdog said Roland restricted pricing of its electronic drum kits and accessories between January 2011 and April 2018, while Korg did the same for its hi-tech music equipment and synthesisers between June 2015 and April 2018."
This isn't an unprecedented situation. Fender were fined £4.5m in January for a similar breach and Casio received a £3.7m penalty for fixing prices of its keyboard and digital pianos in August 2019.
According to the CMA, over 40% of musical instrument sales took place online, "so it’s important that manufacturers and retailers do not illegally work together to keep prices high."
Interestingly, Yamaha, despite having also worked to fix prices with GAK UK retailer escaped any such fines as it brough the case to the attention of the CMA.
It will be interesting to see whether these rulings actually result in lower prices for Roland and Korg synths from online retailers in the long term.
Source: The Guardian
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