Three music brands and two retailers have been fined a total of €21m for price-fixing and colluding over minimum pricing from 2014 to 2018. As reported by Music Tech, a German Federal Cartel Office statement read that Yamaha, Roland and Fender would “contact Thomann and Music Store and ask these retailers to adjust their sales prices, which they also did in many cases.” The practice is illegal under EU consumer law.
According to the case, the manufacturers also threatened and imposed penalties on retailers such as suspending supply or worsened terms and conditions. Andreas Mundt, President of the German Cartel Office said: “With the fines it has imposed the Bundeskartellamt [German Cartel Office] is sending a clear signal not just to the companies concerned but also to the entire musical instrument sector that violations of the prohibition of resale price maintenance and price-fixing agreements will not be tolerated.”
In June 2020, it was reported that Roland and Korg had been involved in price-fixing in the UK with retailer GAK. They were fined £5.5m at the time.