Thursday, January 17, 2008

EMI Cuts 2000 Jobs

Guy Hands, the former bond trader who owns EMI, plans to cut 2,000 jobs and axe hundreds of artists.

Hands vowed to further clip the wings of unprofitable artists by offering them a day rate rather than shelling out huge advances.

"We believe we have devised a new revolutionary structure for the group that will improve every area of the business."

His plan hinges on making existing artists more profitable by concentrating on single digital tracks rather than full albums and improving EMI's track record in signing new ones. But, without the big advances and trappings of a major label, many artists may prefer to sign with rival independents or put new material out themselves.

Before Hands's takeover, Paul McCartney had already quit the label for the new record arm of Starbucks, saying it had become "really very boring". More recent departures include Radiohead, who launched their own "pay what you like" release before signing to an independent and likened the Hands regime to a "confused bull in a china shop".

Hands, who has a string of turnaround stories to his name, admitted paying £40 for the deluxe box-set edition of Radiohead's In Rainbows.

Other big name EMI artists, including Robbie Williams, Coldplay and the Verve, are reviewing their options.

About 85% of what EMI does release never makes a profit, in part because of the cash spent signing bands and partly due to overestimating demand. For instance, the company is understood to have more than a million unsold copies of Robbie Williams's Rudebox album, which it will send to China to be crushed up and used in road surfacing and street lighting.

SOURCE: the guardian

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