EMI to axe 2000 jobs

Music giant EMI is to axe up to 2,000 jobs as part of a drive to save £200 million a year, its new private equity owner said today.

The cuts, which could affect up to a third of its workforce, will be focused on the group's recorded music division.

Terra Firma, which bought the group for £3.2 billion last year, said the cuts were needed because EMI had been "struggling to respond to the challenges posed by a digital environment".

EMI - whose artists include Coldplay, Robbie Williams and Joss Stone - has been struggling with falling CD sales across the industry due to the rise of digital downloading and piracy. The company made pre-tax losses of £263.6 million last year.

The group said the restructuring included measures to eliminate "significant" duplication within the group, focus the group's 40 labels on talent spotting, and maximise existing artist potential. It will also look to help artists open up new income streams such as corporate sponsorship.

EMI said the changes, which will be brought in during the next six months, followed consultation with staff, artists and their managers.

The company said: "The restructuring will also enable the group to capture significant efficiencies and cost reductions which are expect to reduce costs by up to £200 million per year.

"The restructuring is also expected to lead to a worldwide headcount reduction within the group of between 1,500 and 2,000."

Financier Guy Hands, Terra Firma's chief executive and EMI group chairman, has already signalled that around 400 middle managers faced the axe, as well as hundreds of other marketing and administration staff.

He said today: "We have spent a long time looking intensely at EMI and the problems faced by its recorded music division which, like the rest of the music industry, has been struggling to respond to the challenges posed by a digital environment.

"We believe we have devised a new revolutionary structure for the group that will improve every area of the business.

"In short, it will make EMI's music more valuable for the company and its artists alike. The changes we are announcing today will ensure that this iconic company will be creating wonderful music in a way that is profitable and sustainable."

The plans to cut costs across the business have angered many of the group's artists, who have gone public with their complaints.

Radiohead have quit the label and existing artists such as Robbie Williams are understood to have threatened to withhold new records and demanded assurances over marketing and distribution.

Williams' manager Tim Clark has described Mr Hands as a "plantation owner" after he called on artists to work harder, while Chris Martin-led Coldplay are also reported to be reviewing their options.

Around 100 staff braved heavy rain and strong winds to attend a meeting with Mr Hands and other executives at the Odeon cinema in Kensington, west London.

While most remained tight-lipped about the company's future, one employee, who did not wish to be named, said: "This is exactly what needs to happen to the company."

Mr Hands was mobbed by reporters and cameramen as he arrived shortly before the 10am meeting, but made no comment as he was ushered into the building by security staff.

Coldplay, who are one of EMI's biggest recent success stories with more than 30 million album sales, have been an active supporter of various social and political causes including Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign and Amnesty International.

The band's manager Dave Holmes told the Financial Times he was keeping an open mind before hearing the full plans about EMI's restructuring.

But he added that he would "definitely not" advise one of the new artists he represents to sign to the label because it was going through "too much change".

A spokesman for EMI said around a third of the proposed job cuts would fall in the UK, with posts being axed "over the next few months".

The group's total worldwide headcount is around 5,500.

Mr Hands has set up a board at EMI that includes former BAA chief Mike Clasper, former BBC director general John Birt and former Northern Foods chief executive Pat O'Driscoll.

Ms O'Driscoll, who has been brought in by Mr Hands to identify what talent the new slimmed down EMI needs, told the Financial Times she wanted to see the changes in place by the end of June.

"The faster you get through the process of change, the better," she said.

VIDEO
Sport
Karim Benzema celebrates scoring the opening goal
sportReal Madrid 1 Bayern Munich 0: Germans will need their legendary self-belief to rescue Champions League tie in second leg
News
Rohff is one of France’s most popular rappers
people
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes has claimed supporters understand the need to look at
sportScot thanks club staff and fans, but gives no specific mention of players
News
Strange 'quack' noises could be undersea chatter of Minke whales
science
News
weird news... and film it, obviously
Arts & Entertainment
tv
News
news
News
peopleThis time as he’s awarded the Freedom of Stirling and handed an honorary degree
Voices
voices Furore is yet another example of shameful Westminster evasion, says Nigel Farage
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
Arts & Entertainment
Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Corporate Finance

£80000 - £120000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: US QUALI...

International Banking Associate - City

Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: INTERNATIONAL BANKING Banking Solici...

Data Quality Analyst-(SQL, Excel, Word)

£20000 - £28000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Data Quality Analyst-(SQL, Excel,...

Director of Consulting - Energy Trading Gas, Power - London

£90000 - £110000 per annum + full Package: Harrington Starr: Director of Cons...

Day In a Page

Migrants in Britain a decade on: The Poles who brought prosperity

Migrants in Britain a decade on

The Poles who brought prosperity
Philippe Legrain: 'The eurozone crisis has tipped many into disillusionment, despair and extremism - we need a European Spring'

Philippe Legrain: 'We need a European Spring'

The eurozone crisis has tipped many into disillusionment, despair and extremism - this radically altered landscape calls for a new kind of politics, argues the economist
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A moment of glory on the Western Front for the soldiers of the Raj

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A moment of glory on the Western Front for the soldiers of the Raj
Judith Owen reveals how husband Harry Shearer - star of This Is Spinal Tap and The Simpsons - helped her music flourish

Judith Owen: 'How my husband helped my music flourish'

Her mother's suicide and father's cancer also informed the singer-songwriter's new album, says Pierre Perrone
The online lifeline: How a housing association's remarkable educational initiative gave hope to tenant battling long-term illness and depression

Online lifeline: Housing association's educational initiative

South Yorkshire Housing Association's free training courses gave hope to tenant battling long-term illness and depression
Face-recognition software: Is this the end of anonymity for all of us?

Face-recognition software: The end of anonymity?

The software is already used for military surveillance, by police to identify suspects - and on Facebook
Train Kick Selfie Guy is set to scoop up to $250,000 thanks to his viral video - so how can you cash in on your candid moments?

Viral videos: Cashing in on candid moments

Train Kick Selfie Guy Jared Frank could receive anything between $30,000 (£17,800) to $250,000 (£149,000) for his misfortune - and that's just his cut of advertising revenue from being viewed on YouTube
The world's fastest elevators - 20 metres per second - are coming soon to China

World's fastest elevators coming soon to China

Whatever next? Simon Usborne finds out from Britain's highest authority on the subject
Cityfathers tackles long-hours culture that causes men to miss out on seeing their children

Cityfathers tackles long-hours culture

The organisation is the brainchild of Louisa Symington-Mills, a chief operating officer who set up Citymothers in 2012 - a group that now boasts more than 3,000 members
Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable