Coldplay, Robbie Williams Among Unhappy EMI Artists
Fri, 11 Jan 2008 15:21:34
The unclear future of EMI is causing many of its artists to either speak out or leave the label. (Radiohead and Paul McCartney both severed their EMI ties in the past year.) Things have apparently been on the fritz since September, when Terra Firma bought EMI for $6.3 billion, putting Guy Hands in control as the new EMI Group chairman. In an interview with Billboard.com, Robbie Williams' manager, Tim Clark of ie: music, explained the situation in detail, likening hands to a "plantation owner" and saying, "Given where EMI were, the state they were in, the changes they were making, how could any artist deliver an album—we wouldn't know how it would be marketed, distributed and promoted. They're decimating staff and it would be willfully irresponsible of any manager to say, 'Let's deliver this album, they'll sort it out.' Well, actually no—we have to be persuaded that the services that they offer to their artists are going to be of the highest quality."
Clark added that he'd met with Hands twice, but isn't convinced EMI has a clear strategy. "We have to wait and see what happens," he said. "We recognize that Robbie Williams is still under contract to EMI. There's absolutely no ill-feeling. We have to be pragmatic and we also have to recognize the extraordinary change digital technology is having on our industry."
Another major issue voiced by many is the recent departure of Tony Wadsworth, EMI's former UK chairman/CEO. As Clark put it, "It's a concern when somebody of Tony Wadsworth's standing and ability leaves. He has been a great supporter of artists and it is a problem that's he's left, for many of those artists he's had a hand in signing directly or who he's supported strongly over time. So, yes, a lot of people are very upset over his departure."
Coldplay's LA-based rep, David Holmes of 3D Management, added, "I am both saddened and confused that the current owners of EMI have chosen not to include Tony Wadsworth as part of their future plans for the company. I am not really sure what EMI is right now. I guess we shall see next week when Guy makes his announcement." (Hands is planning on outlining new company stratergies in mid-January.) EMI declined to comment for Billboard's story.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff