EMI Chairman Confirms Cutbacks, Says Bands May Be Sponsored Like Football Teams

January 15, 2008 5:25 PM ET

Today in London, music giant EMI made their much-anticipated State of the Union to address how the company, which was recently purchased by private equity firm Terra Firma, would respond to ailing record sales and profits. As was predicted, EMI Group chairman Guy Hands announced a worldwide staff reduction "between 1,500 and 2,000." The company's new focus: A&R. The rest of the label's Recorded Music division will be consolidated in an attempt to hone in on new income streams — increased focus on digital services and the implementation of corporate sponsorship arrangements, meaning that individual band sponsors may soon become a reality. Hands told the U.K.'s Financial Times, "Football teams have very distinct corporate sponsorship. Why shouldn't some of the leading bands have the same sort of relationships?"

Regarding the changes, Hands said, "We believe we have devised a new revolutionary structure for the group that will improve every area of the business. In short, it will make EMI's music more valuable for the company and its artists alike. The changes we are announcing today will ensure that this iconic company will be creating wonderful music in a way that is profitable and sustainable." Meanwhile, artists like Coldplay, Robbie Williams and the Verve, who are all leery of EMI's recent moves (including their inability to re-sign Radiohead and Paul McCartney), have threatened to withhold their new albums until they're assured EMI is capable of properly marketing and distributing them.

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