- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: EMI set to announce up to 2000 job losses
- Date: 17th January 2008
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JANUARY 14, 2008) (REUTERS) KAISER CHIEFS LEAD SINGER RICKY WILSON BEING INTERVIEWED AT THE BRITS NOMINATIONS (SOUNDBITE) (English) KAISER CHIEFS LEAD SINGER RICKY WILSON, SAYING: "EMI, I think they are going about things the wrong way, but they are a big company, and I am a lead singer in a band, and I don't know how to run a record company as well as they do. I do think getting focus groups in why it is not working is a bit of a weird thing to do. I mean, you cant focus group rock & roll, can you? I think they should be working harder doing their jobs, going to see bands and finding new young bands."
- Embargoed: 1st February 2008 12:00
- Location: United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Entertainment,Employment
- Reuters ID: LVA3UF8FMWZ7OSKKOJ0BGS2OBKTM
- Story Text: British music company EMI is to axe up to 2,000 jobs amid a restructuring plan by its new private equity owners to save up to 200 million pounds (392.2 million U.S. dollars) a year.
The world-wide cuts at EMI, home to Coldplay, Kylie Minogue and Norah Jones, will come from the troubled recorded music division which has around 4,500 staff and which has been hit hard in recent years by the fall in CD sales, Internet piracy and a poor release schedule.
The company is aiming to bring its marketing, sales and distribution into a single division, but the plans have already angered many of its big-name artists including Robbie Williams who has threatened to withhold his next album from the company.
In 2002, Williams signed a record contract with EMI worth around 80 millions pounds (then 125 millions USD) to which the singer said: "I want to continue to break records and make records with EMI. My mum said it would be uncouth of me to speak about money, but I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams."
The artists are concerned that EMI will not be able to devote enough people, money and time to promoting their albums.
The changes will be implemented over the next six months and EMI said in a statement it expected to then be able to focus more on its artist and repertoire (A&R) operations to identify and sign promising new artists. Between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs will go.
Terra Firma bought EMI last year for 2.4 billion pounds (4.8 millions USD), or 3.2 billion pounds (6.4 million USD) including debt, after years of speculation about the group's future.
At the Brits nominations on Monday (January 14), concern was on the future of the record industry.
The Chairman of the awards committee who's also the chairman of record giant Sony BMG, Ged Doherty, said a rethinking of the music industry as a whole was needed.
"So the business is in transition and I am a big believer in the only way to predict the future is to invent it and be part of inventing that.
I think that is what all of us in the music industry are trying to do. For years record companies are the people that invest in the acts in the beginning, but the business model has never been quite right, and I think we are the only industry in the world where we take a 100 per cent of the risk but only get maybe 40 per cent of the potential revenue, if you include ticket sales, merchandising and all the thinks that surround an artists career, so that is why that sort of adjustment in business models needs to go on. It does not mean there is going to be a land grab for artist rights and all that kind of thinks. Everybody is trying to figure out. Any of the artists, new artists, artist's management, artists lawyers, realise what is going on. No it is not in anyone's interest for record companies to disappear because as I said they are the people who are the prime investors. So between all of us we will figure it out," he said.
Music producer Mark Ronson, whose album "Version" includes collaborations with Lily Allen and EMI artist Amy Winehouse, said: "I really respect people like, Damon Albarn and Robbie Williams and people that are going to say like, 'listen if you are not going to treat our art properly, and when it comes out that you are treating us like a business then why should we give you this stuff. I think the point is, as long as there is great art people are always going to want to have it, however they figure out the revenue stream and all that stuff, that is not my job, but I don't think you are going to solve the problem of illegal downloading by bringing gin people that run Taco Bells and McDonalds. It is sad for the creative side but I am not worried about music."
British group Radiohead left EMI last year, describing the new management as behaving like "confused bulls in a china shop", while Paul McCartney quit, labelling the company "really very boring".
Other prominent British bands spoke out about the impending announcement.
"EMI, I think they are going about things the wrong way, but they are a big company, and I am a lead singer in a band, and I don't know how to run a record company as well as they do. I do think getting focus groups in why it is not working is a bit of a weird thing to do. I mean, you cant focus group rock & roll, can you? I think they should be working harder doing their jobs, going to see bands and finding new young bands," said Ricky Wilson, Kaiser Chiefs lead singer.
"Really good mates of ours where with EMI and they have been dropped a little while ago and that war really tough, but I think it has been kind of happening quite about because they have been laying off people for a while, and it is , it is terrible. Hopefully we will sell lots of records so our label will do really well and hire them all," added Irwin Sparkes, The Hoosiers lead singer.
The announcement by EMI was set to take place at the Odeon Cinema in London's Leicester Square.
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