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Minogue in Vogue, EMI Back in Fashion

With the surprise U.S. success of Kylie Minogue, Capitol Records is starting to regain its footing in the current release marketplace. The EMI-owned label certainly has to hope the Minogue revival – her album “Fever” has sold 250,000 copies in three weeks of release in the U.S., and the single “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” has sold nearly 3 million worldwide – portends a solid spring for its established stars.

Paul McCartney, whose “Driving Rain” album was met with relative indifference upon its release in November, could see boosted sales coinciding with his 24-date tour of the U.S. in April and May. Capitol’s Beatles’ “1” compilation, which salvaged EMI’s holiday season in 2000, has now sold more than 8.1 million units and continues to sell about 9,000 per week. An Oscar win on Sunday for McCartney (his “Vanilla Sky” is up for best song) could also bolster sales.

Bonnie Raitt will do a 2-1/2-month tour beginning March 30 behind her first new album in four years, “Silver Lining,” which hits stores April 9.

Capitol, under the guidance of president Andy Slater, is starting to see some positive response for its acts that have been well received by the press. Coldplay’s Grammy-winning “Parachutes” has moved 1.1 million copies in the 20 months since its release. A second album is penciled in for a June release.

Starsailor’s “Love Is Here” has been selling at the pace of most critically acclaimed discs – about 5,000 a week – though it cracked the top 200 for the first time in the week that ended Sunday, selling 7,500 units. The album has hit a total of 80,000 as the latest leg of Starsailor’s U.S. tour wrapped this week; the band does a 16-date tour of Midwestern and Eastern colleges beginning April 4.

Radiohead begins work next month on its sixth Capitol studio album and has announced four European concert dates for the summer.

Over at EMI’s Virgin Records, reeling from the tepid response to discs from Mick Jagger and Lenny Kravitz released late last year, the label will continue its attempt to break new acts in the coming months.

With producer Matt Serletic and former Capitol honcho Roy Lott now running the show, Virgin last year saw the blossoming of Nikka Costa, the marketing push for whom continues despite the lack of strong sales numbers, and the Gorillaz, a cartoon side project that has sold 1.3 million units Stateside. Daft Punk and Air, two highly touted electronic acts from France, did not make expected inroads in the U.S.

Virgin’s current docket is led by N.E.R.D. and the third studio album from Gomez, “In Our Gun,” which comes out Tuesday. N.E.R.D.’s “In Search Of” was the label’s biggest seller last week at a mere 20,000 units – Norah Jones, a jazz singer on EMI’s Blue Note label, was only 30 discs behind. The label also has hopes for the “Blade 2” soundtrack – released last week along with a single featuring Mos Def and Massive Attack – and “Subject to Change” by Switched.

In the past several years, neither Capitol nor Virgin has capitalized on boy bands or the aggro-rock movement led by Limp Bizkit.

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