1,500 jobs and fifth of artist roster to go at EMI

The record label EMI has confirmed that it is to cut 1,500 jobs from its global workforce and reduce the number of artists on its books by a fifth, as part of restructuring plans designed to save around £50 million from its annual bill.

EMI Group said that the headcount loss would be centred in its recorded music division – which will see around 20% of its number reduced. Around 900 are related to the outsourcing of manufacturing, the group said.

There would also be restructuring some of its record labels and artist roster, particularly in Continental Europe, to ensure that "resources are applied where they will generate the greatest success".

The company said that it will slash its global artist roster by around 20%, affecting largely "niche and under-performing artists".

The roster is being rebalanced to focus resources and efforts more effectively on the artists who have the greatest potential on both a global and local level, the company said.

EMI said that it also will cease self-manufacturing its CDs and DVDs in Europe and the US in the near future.

The group said that £25 million of its £50 million savings will be delivered in the financial year ending 31 March 2005, with the full annualised savings realised in the following financial year - but the one-off cash cost of delivering these initiatives will be approximately £75 million.

However, EMI said that its full-year sales in recorded music was close to last year’s level and it has registered a "solid performance" in music publishing.

In a statement EMI said: "The steps being taken will further improve the company’s financial performance and enable it to continue to succeed in the physical world whilst fully capitalising on the opportunities presented by its rapidly growing digital business."

Eric Nicoli, Chairman of EMI Group, said that EMI would continue to be an "agile and progressive" music content company that "fully embraces and profits" from changes in technology and consumer trends.

He added: "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.”

Alain Levy, Chairman & CEO of EMI Music, said: “We believe that by concentrating our efforts on a tightened roster of artists we will increase our revenue-generating potential while reducing our costs, even as we continue to invest in artists worldwide and in developing our digital capabilities.”

The group will make its preliminary results announcement on 24 May 2004.


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