UK Issues Objection To Korg & Roland Online Pricing Practices

The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued Statements of Objections to Roland UK and Korg UK, provisionally deciding that both companies operated policies restricting online price competition.

The CMA says that Roland required its electronic drum kits to be sold at or above a minimum price between January 2011 and April 2018, and that Korg did the same for synthesizers and DJ production tools, from June 2015 to April 2018.  Resale Price Maintenance – requiring retailers to maintain a minimum price – is illegal in the UK. 

The CMA’s investigations into Roland and Korg follow recent fines issued to Casio and Fender.

“When someone at the top of the chain insists on setting a minimum price online, customers lose out,” states Ann Pope, CMA Senior Director of Antitrust. “Online selling should offer people more choice and the chance to benefit from competition – but this practice means that people can’t find lower prices when they shop around, which is one of the major advantages of internet shopping.”

The CMA categorizes their findings as ‘provisional’, which means that no final decision has been made about whether there has been a breach of competition law. The CMA says that it will consider each company’s representations before reaching a final decision.

21 thoughts on “UK Issues Objection To Korg & Roland Online Pricing Practices

    1. Beat me to it, your comment about Apple.
      Although it does save loads of time for the consumer knowing what a singular product will cost, anywhere.

      1. The Macworld article “How Apple sets its prices” (I only half-way skimmed the article) seems to be saying that Apple doesn’t fix prices, but simply doesn’t offer much of a discount off of the retail price, thus it’s nearly a loss leader, designed to get people in the door to buy things like cases, accessories, maybe a sound system & TV too. Anyway, unsurprisingly, Apple knows what they’re doing in the legal department.

  1. MAP, or Minimum Advertised Price is a thing that a lot of manufactures do with dealers. The point of it is not to stick it to the customers. It is to prevent their brand from being seen as “cheap”. As in low quality. The markup on synthesizers and pro audio gear is not that much. Dealers don’t have very much room to discount the sorts of things that Korg make. They make much more profit on things like stands, cables, and cases.

    Even with MAP pricing, you can still find it for less. The vendors just have to agree to not advertise a lower price. Most still offer lower prices however. That is why you have sites with a button to click to see the lower than MAP price. Some online retailers ask for an email address so they can email you the price. But that is just a way to get your email address so they can spam you for all eternity.

  2. They should come to the US of A. Every music retailer charges the same price for each item across the board. Oh, but there’s no price fixing. Just, coincidentally exactly the same price no matter where you look. The only retailer I know that openly takes offers is Perfect Circuit.

  3. it would be more entertaining if:

    “UK issues objection to Korg’s limited run of 2600 reissue” or “UK issues objection to Roland decision to never chase a ghost”.

    “UK officials say this objection is provisional, they’re going to A/B and sweep the filters before coming to a conclusion.”

  4. So very against this. Why cant a company decide it’s own price!?
    We all know small stores died because big stores could sell under price while creating a bigger market for themselves.

    Competition laws my … Don’t for a second think these authorities care about the common people.

  5. If companies restrict the retailers to compete with free set price this is a damn good thing authorities do.
    Fixed prices are very common in many business so there’s quite a lot of this going on.
    There’s also an issue here to have in mind and that is a retailer can’t lower the price how ever much until they start losing money.
    Remember when local stores had to lower its prices when Thomann entered the worldwide market?
    Ask Thomann what price strategy they have and when doing so, ask them what discount they may give you when spending large amounts on new equipment. None.
    Now ask you local shop what possible discount you can get on the same and you’ll probably find they try their best to compete with x % discount when ever possible.

  6. Wow. If only, in the US, we had a sensible agency that actually did something to benefit the common people like the UK’s CMA to keep our joke of a capitalist economy running ethically.

  7. Nothing will come of this.

    To become an authorized dealer, retailers accept the manufacturers terms including minimum advertised prices.
    There is no restriction on actual selling price, just prices displayed publicly.
    The retailer has the option of advertising below agreed price, with the understanding that the manufacturer will no longer ship them product.
    (Remember television commercials? The would always say “Dealer May sell for less”).

    The consumer has the power to contact dealers and try to find a deal… you just have to put in the time to email or call.
    At least we don’t have to drive all around town to get prices anymore!

  8. I think the point is to have competition on the mark-up, to encourage efficiencies in the sales process. The result is that high street stores make up the difference by aggressively pushing over-priced extras — useless warranties, “high quality” cables, etc. (not just in music tech, but hifi, white goods too).

  9. Hey guys, look, another thing easily addressed by EU law that UK citizens will be and less and less protected from in the future.

  10. Same here in Germany. See this over Years. Everywhere the same Min. Price. The Musicbusiness Prices following no Laws of market economy. And additional the Prices often dont’t go down over the whole Lifetime (i.E. Roland JD-Xi//Korg Electribe 2).

  11. When did the UK go commie? Its called a free market. If they don’t want resellers whoring the prices down they have a right to set MAP. And as far as Apple is concerned there is almost zero margin for resellers, so you will not see any fluctuation. Would you start a business where you had to pay $1550 for something with a $1595 retail price? Yes, thats roughly how slim the margins are. If you want a deal go the Apple refurb store. Good deals there. If you’re buying a synth and don’t call first to speak with someone who will give you their best price you’re not doing it right.

Leave a Reply