EMI axes artistes and 1,500 jobs

LONDON: EMI Group Plc on Wednesday became the latest big music company to slash costs to cope with an ailing market, cutting 1,500 jobs or 20% of its workforce, trimming its roster of artistes by a fifth, and outsourcing CD and DVD manufacturing. 

Britain-based EMI – the world’s third largest music company and home to the Rolling Stones, Coldplay and Norah Jones – forecast it would save at least £50mil a year from the restructuring. 

Other music companies, such as Sony Corp’s Warner Music and Bertelsmann AG have recently restructured to compete effectively in an industry beset by piracy, falling sales, competition from video games, and a dearth of new music genres. 

EMI also named Jean-Francois Cecillon as chairman and chief executive of EMI Music Continental Europe. 

A spokeswoman said that 900 jobs would be lost as a result of EMI’s decision to exit manufacturing, while 600 would come from units around the world, particularly in continental Europe. 

EMI, which restructured two years ago by cutting 1,900 jobs, said recorded music sales in the year to end-March were close to levels reached the previous year. 

Investec analyst Kingsley Wilson said EMI’s outsourcing of manufacturing in Europe and the United States was “long awaited” and the company’s nearly flat annual sales represented “a significant out-performance of the market”. – Reuters

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