Pink Floyd, Radiohead Catalogs Change Label Hands

Warner Music pays $765 million for Parlophone

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Thom Yorke of Radiohead
Kevin Nixon/Classic Rock Magazine via Getty Images; Frank Hoensch/Getty Images; Jim Dyson/Getty Images
February 8, 2013 1:20 PM ET

Warner Music's $765 million purchase of the Parlophone record label, which includes the rights to catalogs by Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Radiohead and Daft Punk, gives the third-biggest record label a much-needed power boost with regard to rivals Universal and Sony. Warner is the smallest of the "Big Three" record labels, providing just 20 percent of overall album sales in 2012, according to Nielsen SoundScan, but Parlophone should significantly increase that number.

"It's going to make for a healthier, more competitive marketplace," says Steve Greenberg, a former Warner and Sony executive who is now founder and chief executive of independent S-Curve Records. "It enables them to have more of a seat at the table, and makes it less likely that someone can start a new version of Spotify – or something we haven't thought of yet – just with Sony and Universal."

James Taylor Sues Warner Bros. Over Royalties

Until 2010, the record industry revolved around four major labels – Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI. Despite its hugely profitable assets, such as the Beatles catalog and newer pop stars Katy Perry and David Guetta, EMI struggled for years before Universal took over its assets. However, late last year, European regulators stipulated that Universal must sell Parlophone over antitrust concerns. That's when Warner stepped in.

"This is a very important milestone for Warner Music, reflecting our commitment to artist development by strengthening our worldwide roster, global footprint and executive talent," Len Blavatnik, chairman and founder of Access Industries, Warner's parent company, said in a statement.

The Beatles' catalog, which belonged to Parlophone, was not part of the sale.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

More Song Stories entries »