No price cartel found by competish watchdog

AMSTERDAM — Dutch competition authority NMa has dropped its investigation into illegal CD price fixing in the Dutch music industry, saying there was no evidence of anti-competitive activity.

The competition authority said prices of CDs were higher in Holland than in other territories but blamed it on factors unique to the Dutch market, not any conspiracy to form a price cartel on the part of the industry.

The investigation was launched 10 months ago by the government, following complaints of price rises after the introduction of the Euro.

The NMa pointed out that consumers in Holland tend to buy more international pop CDs that are more expensive than Dutch ones and that music outlets in the territory are still mainly owned by small retailers that lack the economies of scale of larger chains.

Dutch prices, said the NMa, varied by as much as €14 ($15.08) from shop to shop, a situation which refuted a price fixing scenario.

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