EMI split blamed on Radiohead's £10m advance demands

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The Independent Culture

Radiohead, the rock band whose latest album could be downloaded for a price of their fans' choosing, left EMI this autumn because the record company would not pay what they asked for.

Guy Hands, the head of EMI, refused a deal with the British group after they allegedly sought a renegotiation of their record deal that would have cost the industry giant up to £10m.

The band had been offered a £3m advance by EMI but wanted significantly more. Speaking on Wednesday night, an EMI spokesman said: "Radiohead were demanding an extraordinary amount of money and we did not believe that our other artists should have to subsidise their gains."

Bryce Edge, Radiohead's manager, said this week: "We couldn't move ahead with EMI because Guy Hands irrevocably refused to discuss the catalogue in any meaningful way. We sold 25 million records and we have the moral rights over those six albums.

"We wanted a say in how they are exploited in the future. We were not seeking a big advance payment, or a guaranteed marketing spend as discussions never got that far."

The six albums Radiohead recorded cannot be wrested from EMI's control for the 50 years permitted by copyright law.

The news comes only months after Radiohead received acclaim for telling fans they could pay any price they wished for In Rainbows. More than 1.2 million people visited the website and the average amount paid was £2.90.

Before their departure from the record label, the group allegedly asked that EMI sould hand over some portion of the copyright to their catalogue of their hugely successful albums. Such a concession would have cost EMI, bought by the private equity firm Terra Firma for a rumoured £2.1bn in May, several million.

It was reported earlier this week that Mr Hands, CEO of Terra Firma, entered into talks with the band shortly after his purchase of the previously ailing label, although this has not been confirmed by EMI. No one from EMI was available for comment yesterday.

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