Music Industry Continues to Evolve with Sale of EMI

Highlighting the changes advancing technology is having on the music industry, after 80 years of operating as an independent music distributor, EMI has concluded agreements which break the company up. Currently owned by Citigroup Inc., EMI reportedly sold for a total of US$4.1 billion, with the recorded-music division going to Universal Music Group, owned by French corporation Vivendi, for $1.9 billion, and EMI Music Publishing going to a consortium of six investors led by Sony. While the deal still needs the official nod from regulators, all parties concerned appear to agree that this is a formality. The sale of EMI leaves Warner Music Group, which had reportedly made a bid of $2 billion, out in the cold, but nonetheless considered to be one of the Big Three of the music industry – Universal, Sony and Warner.

EMI Music’s labels include Capitol, Capitol Records Nashville, EMI Classics, EMI CMG, EMI Records, EMI Records Nashville, Parlophone, Manhattan, Caroline Records, Fuel Records, EMI Gospel, Forefront Records, Angel, Charisma, Astralwerks, Blue Note, Virgin Records and Virgin Classics. Its history can be traced back to 1892 when it was connected with the United States Gramophone Company. The name EMI (Electric & Music Industries) came about with the formation of the company from a merger of the Gramophone Company and the Columbia Graphophone Company in March 1931.

During its 80 year history EMI has represented some legendary artists, including Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. In the 1960s – a period when popular music went through some drastic changes – EMI represented The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Beach Boys. An extensive list of notable solo artists and bands, covering a range of genres, are currently represented by EMI. These include The White Stripes, The Verve, Watershed, Tina Turner, Tinie Tempah, Joss Stone, Snoop Dogg, Richard Marx, Le Toya, Ice Cube, George Harrison, Dizzee Rascal, and more.

Closely linked to The Beatles, with one of their albums bearing its name, Abbey Road Studios is included in the sale of EMI and will be taken over by Universal Music. As one of the most famous recording studios in music industry history, Abbey Road’s first client in 1931 was the London Symphony Orchestra, performing The Land of Hope and Glory, led by Sir Edward Elgar. With technology continuing to advance at high speed, the music industry has to adapt to survive, but fans can be sure that musicians will get their music to the public by whatever means is available to them.