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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 16:28 GMT
EMI set to cut up to 2,000 jobs
Robbie Williams
Mr Williams is said to be worried about the restructuring plans
Record label EMI says it will cut between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs worldwide as part of plans to reduce costs by 200m a year.

The restructuring plans come from EMI's private equity owner Guy Hands, who bought the firm for 3.2bn last year.

The record industry has been trying to cut costs as it faces falling CD sales and a switch to internet downloads.

EMI, whose artists include Coldplay and Kylie Minogue, said the cuts would take effect over the next six months.

'Profitable and sustainable'

The manager of one of EMI's major artists, Robbie Williams, has said the singer would not deliver a new album in protest at the restructuring plans.

Artists are concerned that the record label wants to take a larger share of money made from concerts and merchandise, while cutting the marketing budget.

We have spent a long time looking intensely at EMI and the problems faced by its recorded music division
Guy Hands, chief executive, Terra Firma

Last week, EMI's UK chief executive Tony Wadsworth left the company after 25 years.

Mr Hands, the boss of private equity firm Terra Firma, said the cost cutting would allow EMI to continue "creating wonderful music in a way that is profitable and sustainable".

"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," Mr Hands said.

The restructuring will allow the firm to invest more in its Artists and Repertoire operations that are responsible for finding new talent, EMI said.

Industry losses

Claire Enders, an industry analyst, told the BBC that the record industry had shed half its workforce since 2000.

The cuts could affect up to a third of EMI's 5,500 staff members.

After years of uncertainty about the group's future, EMI was sold to Terra Firma in August last year for 2.4bn or 3.2bn including debt.

"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," Mr Hands said.

One EMI employee told the BBC that most staff were being "pretty stoical" about the announcement.

"It didn't exactly creep up on us, and we're well aware that changes had to be made or we'd all be out of a job soon enough regardless," they said.

"Whether the changes will be the right ones remains to be seen, but we'll just have to trust the new management on that score for the time being."

Guy Hands on restructuring record label EMI

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