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EMI label to disappear

EMI, one of the world’s top music companies, pushed on with yet more restructuring when it reorganized its labels under two global brands-Virgin and Capitol-and streamlined its international management. Alain Levy, chairman of EMI Recorded Music, said the company will concentrate on two international labels – Virgin and Capitol.The move came two days after EMI Group issued its second profits warning in six months.

Levy has been leading a strategic review aimed at identifying costs and boosting business in the US music market.

The EMI name was created in 1931 when the Gramophone Company merged with Columbia to form the Electric and Musical Industries group. The company’s His Master’s Voice label became a brand icon.

Now the EMI brand will be largely reserved for corporate services. The exception will be EMI Classics which will not change its name or label brand.

EMI said it was scrapping duplication of its management, leaving one managing director for each country. In many cases, after EMI’s purchase of Virgin, countries had two MDs.

Back office operations will form part of a “shared services” department. This will include sales, finance, IT and catalogue exploitation, to be renamed EMI Marketing. Significant job losses are expected but EMI declined to give a number.

Emmanuel de Buretel, the new chairman of EMI Recorded Music for continental Europe, will nominate new EMI heads for different countries over the next few weeks.

M Levy said yesterday that the two global brands of Capitol and Virgin represented “different identities with their own style and rich histories of creativity and great music”.

Once the new structure was fully implemented, M Levy said that EMI would then be best positioned “to achieve a major increase in market share and performance”.

EMI has been under pressure to cut costs after one of the industry’s worst years to date. A dearth of big music hits, piracy and an economic downturn have hampered album sales.

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