Rolling Stones Abandon E.M.I.
Guy Hands’ attempts to prevent an exodus of talent from EMI have suffered a blow with the Rolling Stones’ decision to release their new album through rival Universal Music.
The album, Shine A Light, will be released in March, and will accompany a Martin Scorsese film of the same name that features two live shows the band performed in New York in 2006.
The move to Universal only covers the new album, and does not extend to the Rolling Stones’ catalogue of previous recordings.
Well, that didn’t take long. There has been much talk of threatened, similar movement by other artists currently on the E.M.I. roster. Many are playing it off as a form of protest. It isn’t protest, it’s business.
I suspect that the Stones move has something to do with E.M.I.’s decision to put an end to artist advances.
I also believe that the reason private equity firm, Terra Firma payed $3 billion + for E.M.I. was this; They wanted the catalogue. If they aren’t particularly interested in a new Rolling Stones record that is going to be cross marketed with a Scorsese film, how much effort will they put into developing new, cutting edge talent? Well, none. They see that the future lies in licensing (ads, movies etc.) and repackaging old, familiar music.
It remained unclear whether the Rolling Stones would seek to sign a longer-term agreement with another record label or strike a relationship with a concert promoter, such as Live Nation.
While the band’s recent releases have posted modest sales, its concert tours have been among the most lucrative in industry history. Those tours have also stoked sales of the band’s earlier albums.
Some see big time concert promoters, like Live Nation, becoming the new major labels. I’m not saying that Live Nation won’t be in the business of making a few records, especially for established acts like Madonna or the Stones but, I can’t really see them as a developer of recording careers. In essence, Live Nation is operating with the same type of criteria as E.M.I. They are in the business of promoting track record.
[tags] E.M.I., Guy Hand, Rolling Stones, Live Nation [/tags]