Record Labels: They Might Be In Some Sort Of Trouble

Jan 12th, 2007 // 9 Comments

EMI–the corporate overlord of such labels as Capitol, Blue Note and Astralwerks–canned two music executives this morning, setting off the usual we’re-all-doomed panic attacks:

Raising a distress flag in the digital storm sweeping the music business, EMI has parted company with two top executives and warned investors that full-year sales will be far below expectations…

EMI, the world’s third-largest music company, surprised investors Friday by announcing the departure of EMI Music Chief Executive Alain Levy and Vice Chairman David Munns following worse-than-expected Christmas sales…Analysts said EMI’s woes were a mixture of its own mistakes, some bad luck with its releases and the twin digital challenges of piracy and legitimate downloading.

We’re guessing that two of those “bad-luck releases” were Keith Urban’s unpromotable Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing and Janet Jackson’s unlistenable 20 Y.O. And it certainly didn’t help that three of the company’s biggest acts–Gorillaz, Coldplay and Norah Jones–didn’t have a 2006 release. But hey, they’ll always have Chingy!

EMI Parts Ways With Execs, Gives Warning [AP]

  1. deusdiabolus

    Now would be a good time to put up a certain Sex Pistols tune…

  2. kiteless

    I love when record companies release terrible records and then (shock!) don’t sell any of said records. Then they complain that the sky is falling and digital sales will ruin everything. What they don’t say is that their releases did proportionately as bad in digital sales and pirating. If only there were a way to track such numbers, like say, counting the number of downloads through that ISO site or that pig themed one. Then you’d be able to tell whether your releases were Highly Sought After, Agreeable, or, my favorite, Not Even Worth Stealing.

  3. Chris Molanphy

    I have this weird soft spot for EMI motivated partially by pity and partially by the fact that they’re the closest thing to a pure record company left in the industry. Until recently, when Universal started picking up the likes of TVOTR and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, EMI was the label group signing more interesting rock acts, on average, than the other majors – which is what makes the way they fail those acts so maddening.

    The most pitiable thing about EMI is that – with their total lack of other, diversifying businesses that can save their asses when the label group has a bad year – they continually have to make these horrible confessions to the market. As you imply, they rely on a handful of massive acts, and when Chris Martin or Damon Albarn don’t feel like rolling out of bed that year, they’re sunk.

  4. brainchild

    Janet’s album wasn’t nearly as bad as most people made it out to believe. They just chose shitty singles. “Enjoy”, “Take Care”, and “Do It To Me” could have easily been successful singles… but they chose to go with the two singles that any no-talent r&b female singer who’s put out an album in the last three years could’ve done instead of something that was unmistakably Janet.

  5. noamjamski

    Kiteless there is a company that does track torrent sites for legitimate business to see how well their releases are doing. I think Idolator has even put up some of their numbers in the past, but I may be completely wrong.

    Their name is Big Champagne or something similar.

    They let the big guns know how hot their releases are in the pirate circles.

  6. Jupiter8

    Time to remaster those Beatles CDS again…

  7. Maura Johnston

    brainchild, I really wanted to like that Janet record, but it was just way overstuffed. She was hidden behind layers of guest appearances and vocal treatments–not to mention crappy songs like “So Excited.” For all of her talk about Control, she neglected the one key thing that made it such a smash: It was only nine killer tracks, seven of which wound up being hit singles.

  8. kiteless

    Funny you should mention Janet Jackson as I’ve come to realize that the song “Escapade” is nearly impossible to get out of your head once it’s found it’s way in.

  9. brainchild

    if i’m not mistaken, there were only 2 guest appearances, and those 2 tracks were the worst songs on the album, as well as the two lead singles.

    And well… Janet’s voice has always been heavily treated. No one ever claimed that she was a good *lead* singer (her layered background vocals, I would like to state, are unmatched.) But to sh*t on this last album is sort of unfair.

    I always sneak songs from the album into playlists when I’m DJ’ing or just playing music at home and have friends over, and no one ever believes that it’s stuff from the new album.

    Is the album her best work? Not even close. Is it unlistenable? Far from it.

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