EMI artists revolt

By Emily Morgan

January 18, 2008 at 10:09am

Musicians can be an unruly lot. Just ask British investor Guy Hands.

After Hands’s private equity firm, Terra Firma, bought EMI Group, it announced a “fundamental restructuring” that included elimination of up to 2,000 jobs and cost reductions of nearly $400 million.

This didn’t go over well with the artists.

Yesterday the Rolling Stones, who originally signed with EMI in 1977, announced they would release their next album through EMI competitor Universal. EMI acts Coldplay and Robbie Williams are reportedly threatening to withhold albums.

Other EMI talent found new distribution channels. Radiohead sold its new album online, while Paul McCartney sold his 2007 release through Starbucks.

The new owners, scrambling to hold onto EMI artists, say changes are necessary to address the challenges faced by the music industry, which has seen drastic reductions in sales.

The EMI website focuses on the talent the company has been able to keep. Press releases announce: “EMI extends its publishing partnership with Norah Jones” and “Iron Maiden stick with EMI.”

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