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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK
EMI cuts artists and 1,500 jobs
Thom Yorke of Radiohead
EMI's roster of bands includes Radiohead
British music giant EMI has announced it is to axe 1,500 jobs as it contracts out CD production and ditches a number of artists from its roster.

The company said it expected the reorganisation of its business to save it about 50m ($91m) a year.

But there would be a one-off cash cost of about 75m from the job cuts.

EMI's artist roster, which includes Robbie Williams and Radiohead, will be reduced by about 20%, mostly "niche and under-performing" acts in Europe.

EMI will continue to be an agile and progressive music content company
Eric Nicoli, chairman of EMI Group

Other big name artists signed up to the world's third-biggest music group, include Kylie, Coldplay, and Norah Jones.

In London trading, shares in EMI surged 18.5 pence to 275.5p.

The group said its Higher Octave and Narada labels will be merged, as well as its Christian music labels Sparrow and Forefront.

But they refused to identify any of the artists who are about to get the chop, except to say they were "local-country acts".

EMI said staff numbers would be reduced by about 900 in the Netherlands and the US, as it moved to contract out production of compact discs and DVDs.

'Remain optimistic'

A group spokesman said a small number of the job cuts would take place at sites in the UK, but would not reveal the total figure.

Eric Nicoli, chairman of EMI Group, said: "The actions announced today represent another major step forward.

1931 Formed by merger of two gramophone makers
1952 Launches its first 33 rpm record
1955 Buys Capitol Records, home to Frank Sinatra
1962 EMI signs the Beatles
1976 Signs the Sex Pistols
1983 Releases its first CD
1996 Signs the Spice Girls
1998 Rejects Seagram takeover offer
2000 EMI-Warner merger fails
2001 EMI-Bertelsmann merger fails
2002 Pays 19m to end Mariah Carey contract
2003 Fails in takeover bid for Warner Music

"EMI will continue to be an agile and progressive music content company that fully embraces and profits from changes in technology and consumer trends.

"Whilst we remain optimistic that the market will return to growth in due course, we are committed to being in the best possible shape to compete in all conditions and to take advantage of improving trends."

Last winter the company failed in a proposed takeover of Warner Music.

EMI lost out to a private consortium led by former Seagram chief executive Edgar Bronfman Jr, and also including billionaire media mogul Haim Saban.

However, the group has now announced it has acquired the remaining 20% of Berry Gordy's Jobete song catalogue, which includes 15,000 Motown classics such as I'll Be There, for about $80m.

What now for EMI?
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24 Nov 03  |  Business
EMI 'may become takeover target'
23 Nov 03  |  Business
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21 Nov 03  |  Business
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19 Nov 03  |  Business
EMI boss defends music industry
04 Sep 03  |  Entertainment

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