EMI

EMI

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The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...

 music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group
Business group
A corporate group is a collection of parent and subsidiary corporations that function as a single economic entity through a common source of control. The concept of a group is frequently used in tax law, accounting and company law to attribute the rights and duties of one member of the group to...

 and family of record label
Record label
In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion,...

s in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major publishing arm, EMI Music Publishing — also based in London with offices globally. The company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index
FTSE 100 Index
The FTSE 100 Index, also called FTSE 100, FTSE, or, informally, the footsie , is a share index of the 100 most highly capitalised UK companies listed on the London Stock Exchange....

 but since February 2011 it was wholly owned by Citigroup
Citigroup
Citigroup Inc. or Citi is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Citigroup was formed from one of the world's largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate...

 (which took the then financially troubled company over because of more than $4 billion in debt it held). EMI is a member of the RIAA & IFPI
IFPI
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is the organisation that represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide. It is a not-for-profit members' organisation registered in Switzerland...

.

In November 2011 Citigroup
Citigroup
Citigroup Inc. or Citi is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Citigroup was formed from one of the world's largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate...

 announced a tentative deal to sell off pieces of the company with the music arm going to Vivendi
Vivendi
Vivendi SA is a French international media conglomerate with activities in music, television and film, publishing, telecommunications, the Internet, and video games. It is headquartered in Paris.- History :...

's Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

 for $1.9 billion and the publishing business going to a consortium led by Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

 for around $2.2 billion. Other members of the Sony consortium include Blackstone
Blackstone Group
The Blackstone Group L.P. is an American-based alternative asset management and financial services company that specializes in private equity, real estate, and credit and marketable alternative investment strategies, as well as financial advisory services, such as mergers and acquisitions ,...

 and Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

-owned investment fund Mubadala. Both before and after the sale announcement, Universal Music Group pledged to sell off EMI assets to the value of half a billion Euros.

History


EMI (Electric and Musical Industries) Ltd was formed in March 1931 by the merger of the Columbia Graphophone Company
Columbia Graphophone Company
The Columbia Graphophone Company was one of the earliest gramophone companies in the United Kingdom. Under EMI, as Columbia Records, it became a very successful label in the 1950s and 1960s...

 and the Gramophone Company
Gramophone Company
The Gramophone Company, based in the United Kingdom, was one of the early recording companies, and was the parent organization for the famous "His Master's Voice" label...

, with its "His Master's Voice" record label, firms that have a history extending back to the origins of recorded sound
Sound recording and reproduction
Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical or mechanical inscription and re-creation of sound waves, such as spoken voice, singing, instrumental music, or sound effects. The two main classes of sound recording technology are analog recording and digital recording...

. The new vertically integrated company produced sound recordings as well as recording and playback equipment.

Manufacturing


The company's gramophone manufacturing led to forty years of success with larger-scale electronics
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 and electrical engineering
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

. Alan Blumlein
Alan Blumlein
Alan Dower Blumlein was a British electronics engineer, notable for his many inventions in telecommunications, sound recording, stereo, television and radar...

, a skilled engineer employed by EMI, conducted a great deal of pioneering research into stereo sound recording, however many years prior to the perfection of the medium in the early '50s, he was killed in 1942 whilst conducting trials on an experimental H2S radar
H2S radar
H2S was the first airborne, ground scanning radar system. It was developed in Britain in World War II for the Royal Air Force and was used in various RAF bomber aircraft from 1943 to the 1990s. It was designed to identify targets on the ground for night and all-weather bombing...

 unit. During and after World War II, the EMI Laboratories in Hayes, Hillingdon
Hayes, Hillingdon
Hayes is a town in the London Borough of Hillingdon, West London. It is a suburban development situated west of Charing Cross. Hayes was developed in the late 19th and 20th centuries as an industrial locality to which residential districts were later added in order to house factory workers...

 developed radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 equipment and guided missiles
Missile
Though a missile may be any thrown or launched object, it colloquially almost always refers to a self-propelled guided weapon system.-Etymology:The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send"...

, employing analogue computers. The company later became involved in broadcasting
Broadcasting
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio visual medium. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof...

 equipment, notably providing the first television transmitter to the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

. It also manufactured broadcast television cameras for British television production companies, mostly the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, although the commercial television ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 companies used them as well alongside cameras made by Pye and Marconi
Marconi Company
The Marconi Company Ltd. was founded by Guglielmo Marconi in 1897 as The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company...

. Their most famous piece of broadcast television equipment was the EMI 2001
EMI 2001
The EMI 2001 Broadcast studio camera was an early, very successful British made Plumbicon studio camera that included the lens within the body of the camera. Four 30mm tubes allowed one tube to be dedicated solely to producing a relatively high resolution monochrome signal, with the other three...

 colour camera, which became the mainstay of both the BBC and several ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 companies in the 1970s and early 1980s.

In 1958 the EMIDEC 1100
EMIDEC 1100
-External links:**...

, Britain's first transistor
Transistor
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

ised computer, was developed at Hayes under the leadership of Godfrey Hounsfield
Godfrey Hounsfield
Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield CBE, FRS, was an English electrical engineer who shared the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Allan McLeod Cormack for his part in developing the diagnostic technique of X-ray computed tomography .His name is immortalised in the Hounsfield scale, a...

. In the early 1970s, Hounsfield developed the first CAT scanner, a device which revolutionised medical imaging
Medical imaging
Medical imaging is the technique and process used to create images of the human body for clinical purposes or medical science...

. In 1973 EMI was awarded a prestigious Queen's Award for Technological Innovation
Queen's Awards for Enterprise
The Queen's Awards for Enterprise is an awards programme for British businesses and other organizations who excel at international trade, innovation or sustainable development. They are the highest official UK awards for British businesses...

 for what was then called the EMI scanner, and in 1979 Hounsfield won the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine administered by the Nobel Foundation, is awarded once a year for outstanding discoveries in the field of life science and medicine. It is one of five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, in his will...

 for his accomplishment. After brief, but brilliant, success in the medical imaging field, EMI's manufacturing activities were sold off to other companies, notably Thorn (see Thorn EMI
Thorn EMI
Thorn EMI was a major British company involved in consumer electronics, music, defence and retail. Created in October 1979 when Thorn Electrical Industries merged with EMI, it was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but it demerged again in...

). Subsequently development and manufacturing activities were sold off to other companies and work moved to other towns such as Crawley and Wells.

Emihus Electronics, based in Glenrothes
Glenrothes
Glenrothes is a large town situated in the heart of Fife, in east-central Scotland. It is located approximately from both Edinburgh, which lies to the south and Dundee to the north. The town had an estimated population of 38,750 in 2008, making Glenrothes the third largest settlement in Fife...

, Scotland, was owned 51% by Hughes Aircraft
Hughes Aircraft
Hughes Aircraft Company was a major American aerospace and defense contractor founded in 1932 by Howard Hughes in Culver City, California as a division of Hughes Tool Company...

, of California, U.S., and 49% by EMI. It manufactured integrated circuits and, for a short period in the mid-1970s, made hand-held calculators under the Gemini name.

Music


Early in its life, the Gramophone Company established subsidiary operations in a number of other countries in the British Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, including India, Australia and New Zealand. Gramophone's (later EMI's) Australian and New Zealand subsidiaries dominated the popular music industries in those countries from the 1920s until the 1960s, when other locally owned labels (such as Festival Records
Festival Records (Australia)
Festival Records was an Australian music recording and publishing company which was founded in Sydney in 1952 and operated until 2005....

) began to challenge the near monopoly of EMI. Over 150,000 78-rpm recordings from around the world are held in EMI's temperature-controlled archive in Hayes, some of which have been released on CD since 2008 by Honest Jon's Records.

In 1931, the year the company was formed, it opened the legendary recording studios at Abbey Road
Abbey Road Studios
Abbey Road Studios is a recording studio located at 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, City of Westminster, London, England. It was established in November 1931 by the Gramophone Company, a predecessor of British music company EMI, its present owner...

, London. During the 1930s and 1940s, its roster of artists included Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini
Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. One of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and 20th century, he was renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his photographic memory...

, Sir Edward Elgar, and Otto Klemperer
Otto Klemperer
Otto Klemperer was a German conductor and composer. He is widely regarded as one of the leading conductors of the 20th century.-Biography:Otto Klemperer was born in Breslau, Silesia Province, then in Germany...

, among many others. During this time EMI appointed its first A&R
A&R
Artists and repertoire is the division of a record label that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists. It also acts as a liaison between artists and the record label.- Finding talent :...

 managers. These included George Martin
George Martin
Sir George Henry Martin CBE is an English record producer, arranger, composer and musician. He is sometimes referred to as "the Fifth Beatle"— a title that he often describes as "nonsense," but the fact remains that he served as producer on all but one of The Beatles' original albums...

, who later brought the Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 into the EMI fold.

When The Gramophone Company merged with the Columbia Graphophone Company
Columbia Graphophone Company
The Columbia Graphophone Company was one of the earliest gramophone companies in the United Kingdom. Under EMI, as Columbia Records, it became a very successful label in the 1950s and 1960s...

 (including Columbia's subsidiary label Parlophone
Parlophone
Parlophone is a record label that was founded in Germany in 1896 by the Carl Lindström Company as Parlophon. The British branch was formed in 1923 as "Parlophone" which developed a reputation in the 1920s as a leading jazz label. It was acquired in 1927 by the Columbia Graphophone Company which...

) in 1931, the new Anglo-American group was incorporated as Electric & Musical Industries Ltd. At this point RCA
RCA
RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

 had a majority shareholding in the new company, giving RCA chair David Sarnoff
David Sarnoff
David Sarnoff was an American businessman and pioneer of American commercial radio and television. He founded the National Broadcasting Company and throughout most of his career he led the Radio Corporation of America in various capacities from shortly after its founding in 1919 until his...

 a seat on the EMI board.

However, EMI was subsequently forced to sell Columbia USA due to anti-trust action taken by its American competitors. By this time the record industry had been hit hard by the Depression and in 1934 a much-diminished Columbia USA was purchased for just US$70,500 by ARC-BRC (American Record Corporation
American Record Corporation
ARC, the American Record Company, also referred to as American Record Corporation, or as ARC Records, was a United States based record company...

–Brunswick Record Company), which also acquired the OKeh label.

RCA sold its stake in EMI in 1935, but due to its earlier takeover of the Victor
RCA Records
RCA Records is one of the flagship labels of Sony Music Entertainment. The RCA initials stand for Radio Corporation of America , which was the parent corporation from 1929 to 1985 and a partner from 1985 to 1986.RCA's Canadian unit is Sony's oldest label...

 label in 1929, RCA retained the North and South American
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 rights to the "Nipper
Nipper
Nipper was a dog that served as the model for a painting titled His Late Master's Voice. This image was the basis for the dog and trumpet logo used by several audio recording and associated brands: His Master's Voice, HMV, RCA, Victor Talking Machine Company, RCA Victor and JVC.- Biography :Nipper...

" trademark. In other countries, the Dog and Phonograph Logo was used by the EMI subsidiary label HMV, even though the slogan itself would be retained by RCA along with the logo.

In 1938 ARC-Brunswick was taken over by CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

, which then sold the American Brunswick label to American Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

, which along with its' other properties, Aeolian Records and Vocalion Records
Vocalion Records
Vocalion Records is a record label active for many years in the United States and in the United Kingdom.-History:Vocalion was founded in 1916 by the Aeolian Piano Company of New York City, which introduced a retail line of phonographs at the same time. The name was derived from one of their...

, used it as a subsidiary budget label afterward. CBS then operated Columbia as its flagship label in both the United States and Canada.

However. to make it even more confusing, EMI retained the rights to the Columbia name in most other territories including the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It continued to operate the label with moderate success until 1972, when it was retired and replaced by the EMI Records
EMI Records
EMI Records is the flagship record label founded by the EMI company in 1972 and launched in January 1973 as the successor to its Columbia label. The EMI label was launched worldwide...

 imprint, so if you see any Columbia Records manufactured outside North America between 1972 and 1992, they are rare indeed.

In 1990, following a series of major takeovers that saw CBS Records acquired by the Sony Corporation of Japan, EMI sold its remaining rights to the Columbia name to Sony and the label is now operated exclusively throughout the world by Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment ' is the second-largest global recorded music company of the "big four" record companies and is controlled by Sony Corporation of America, the United States subsidiary of Japan's Sony Corporation....

; except in Japan where the trade mark is owned by Columbia Music Entertainment
Columbia Music Entertainment
is a Japanese record label founded in 1910 as . It affiliated itself with the Columbia Graphophone Company of the United Kingdom and adopted the standard UK Columbia trademarks in 1931. The company changed its name to Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd. in 1946. It used the Nippon Columbia name until...

,

EMI released its first LPs in 1952 and its first stereophonic recordings in 1955 (first on reel-to-reel tape and then LPs, beginning in 1958). In 1957, to replace the loss of its long-established licensing arrangements with RCA Victor and Columbia Records
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

 (Columbia USA cut its ties with EMI in 1951) and EMI entered the American market by acquiring 96% of the stock for Capitol Records
Capitol Records
Capitol Records is a major United States based record label, formerly located in Los Angeles, but operating in New York City as part of Capitol Music Group. Its former headquarters building, the Capitol Tower, is a major landmark near the corner of Hollywood and Vine...

 USA.

From 1960 to 1995 their "EMI House," corporate headquarters was located at 20 Manchester Square
Manchester Square
Manchester Square is an 18th century garden square in the Marylebone area in London, England, a short distance north of Oxford Street. It is one of the smaller but better preserved Georgian squares in central London...

 London, England, the stairwell from which was featured on the cover of the Beatles' Please Please Me
Please Please Me
Please Please Me is the debut album by the English rock band The Beatles. Parlophone rush-released the album on 22 March 1963 in the United Kingdom to capitalise on the success of singles "Please Please Me" and "Love Me Do" .Of the album's fourteen songs, eight were written by Lennon–McCartney...

album. In addition, an unused shot from the Please Please Me photo session featuring the boys in short hair and cleancut attire, was used for the cover of the Beatles' first double-disc greatest-hits compilation entitled 1962–1966 (aka "The Red Album"). In 1969, Angus McBean
Angus McBean
Angus McBean , was a Welsh photographer, associated with surrealism.-Biography:Angus McBean was born in South Wales in June 1904. Despite the surname and the family's claim to be head of the sub-clan McBean, they had been Welsh for generations. Clem McBean was a surveyor in the mines and the family...

 took a matching group photograph featuring the boys in long hair and beards to contrast with the earlier cleancut image in order to show that the boys could have appeal across a wide range of audiences. This photo was originally intended for the Get Back album which later was entitled Let It Be. The photo was used instead for the cover of the Beatles second greatest-hits double-disc compilation entitled 1967–1970 (aka "The Blue Album"). (The two compliations were released in 1973.)

EMI's classical artists of the period were largely limited to the prestigious British orchestras, such as the Philharmonia Orchestra
Philharmonia Orchestra
The Philharmonia Orchestra is one of the leading orchestras in Great Britain, based in London. Since 1995, it has been based in the Royal Festival Hall. In Britain it is also the resident orchestra at De Montfort Hall, Leicester and the Corn Exchange, Bedford, as well as The Anvil, Basingstoke...

 and London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra is a major orchestra of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known orchestras in the world. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.-History:...

. During the era of the long-playing record (LP), very few U.S. orchestras had their principal recording contracts with EMI, one notable exception being that of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The orchestra's home is Heinz Hall, located in Pittsburgh's Cultural District.-History:...

, especially during the tenure of William Steinberg
William Steinberg
William Steinberg was a German-American conductor.- Biography :Steinberg was born Hans Wilhelm Steinberg in Cologne, Germany. He displayed early talent as a violinist, pianist, and composer, conducting his own choral/ orchestral composition at age 13...

.

From the late 1950s to the early 1970s, the company enjoyed huge success in the popular music
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

 field under the management of Sir Joseph Lockwood. The strong combination of EMI and its subsidiary labels (including Parlophone
Parlophone
Parlophone is a record label that was founded in Germany in 1896 by the Carl Lindström Company as Parlophon. The British branch was formed in 1923 as "Parlophone" which developed a reputation in the 1920s as a leading jazz label. It was acquired in 1927 by the Columbia Graphophone Company which...

, HMV
HMV
His Master's Voice is a trademark in the music business, and for many years was the name of a large record label. The name was coined in 1899 as the title of a painting of the dog Nipper listening to a wind-up gramophone...

, Columbia and Capitol Records
Capitol Records
Capitol Records is a major United States based record label, formerly located in Los Angeles, but operating in New York City as part of Capitol Music Group. Its former headquarters building, the Capitol Tower, is a major landmark near the corner of Hollywood and Vine...

) along with a roster of stellar groups such as The Hollies
The Hollies
The Hollies are an English pop and rock group, formed in Manchester in the early 1960s, though most of the band members are from throughout East Lancashire. Known for their distinctive vocal harmony style, they became one of the leading British groups of the 1960s and 1970s...

, The Shadows
The Shadows
The Shadows are a British pop group with a total of 69 UK hit-charted singles: 35 as 'The Shadows' and 34 as 'Cliff Richard and the Shadows', from the 1950s to the 2000s. Cliff Richard in casual conversation with the British rock press frequently refers to the Shadows by their nickname: 'The Shads'...

, The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California. The group was initially composed of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, The Beach Boys signed to Capitol Records in 1962...

, and, The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...


along with hit solo performers such as Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Cliff Richard
Cliff Richard
Sir Cliff Richard, OBE is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor, and philanthropist who has sold over an estimated 250 million records worldwide....

, and Nat 'King' Cole, made EMI the best-known and most successful recording company in the world at that time.

In 1967, while shifting their pop and rock music roster to Columbia, EMI converted HMV solely to a classical music label exclusively. For the emerging progressive rock
Progressive rock
Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

 genre including Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

, who had debuted on Columbia, EMI established a new subsidiary label, Harvest Records
Harvest Records
-References:* Harvest Records collectors guide ISBN 978-5-9622-0021-7...

 two years later.

In 1971, Electric & Musical Industries changed its' name to EMI Ltd. and a year later EMI replaced the Columbia label with the EMI Records
EMI Records
EMI Records is the flagship record label founded by the EMI company in 1972 and launched in January 1973 as the successor to its Columbia label. The EMI label was launched worldwide...

 imprint. Two years later, The Gramophone Company subsidiary became EMI Records, Ltd as well, and in February 1979, EMI Ltd acquired United Artists Records
United Artists Records
United Artists Records was a record label founded by Max E. Youngstein of United Artists in 1957 initially to distribute records of its movie soundtracks, though it soon branched out into recording music of a number of different genres.-History:...

 and with it their subsidiary labels Liberty Records
Liberty Records
Liberty Records was a United States-based record label. It was started by chairman Simon Waronker in 1955 with Al Bennett as president and Theodore Keep as chief engineer. It was reactivated in 2001 in the United Kingdom and had two previous revivals.-1950s:...

 and Imperial Records
Imperial Records
Imperial Records is a United States based label started in 1947 by Lew Chudd and reactivated in 2006 by label owner EMI.- The independent and Liberty Records years :...

.

Eight months later, THORN Electrical Industries
THORN Electrical Industries
Thorn Electrical Industries, Limited was an electrical engineering business. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange but it merged with EMI Group to form Thorn EMI in 1979...

 merged with EMI Ltd. to form Thorn EMI
Thorn EMI
Thorn EMI was a major British company involved in consumer electronics, music, defence and retail. Created in October 1979 when Thorn Electrical Industries merged with EMI, it was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but it demerged again in...

.

Ten years later in 1989, Thorn EMI bought a 50% interest in Chrysalis Records
Chrysalis Records
Chrysalis Records was a British record label that was created in 1969. The name was both a reference to the pupal stage of a butterfly and a combination of its founders names, Chris Wright and Terry Ellis...

, completing the buyout two years later. Six months after completing the buyout of Chrysalis, Thorn EMI bought Virgin Records
Virgin Records
Virgin Records is a British record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell in 1972. The company grew to be a worldwide music phenomenon, with platinum performers such as Roy Orbison, Devo, Genesis, Keith Richards, Janet Jackson, Culture Club, Lenny...

 from Richard Branson
Richard Branson
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, best known for his Virgin Group of more than 400 companies....

 in one of its highest-profile and most expensive acquisitions in record music history.

Aftermath of demerger from Thorn


Due to the increasing divergence of business models, Thorn EMI shareholders voted in favour of demerger proposals on 16 August 1996. The resulting media company was now known as EMI Group PLC.

Since the 1930s, the Baak Doi label heaquartered in Shanghai had been published under the EMI banner and since then, EMI had also been the dominant label in the cantopop
Cantopop
Cantopop is a colloquialism for "Cantonese popular music". It is sometimes referred to as HK-pop, short for "Hong Kong popular music". It is categorized as a subgenre of Chinese popular music within C-pop...

 market in Hong Kong until the genre's decline in the mid 1980s. Between the years 2004–2006, EMI then completely and totally divested itself from the c-pop
C-pop
C-pop is an abbreviation for Chinese popular music , a loosely defined musical genre by artists originating from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Others come from countries where the Chinese language is used by a large number of the population, such as Singapore and Malaysia...

 market, and after that, all Hong Kong music artists previously associated with EMI have had their music published by Gold Label, a concern unaffiliated with EMI and with which EMI does not hold any interest.

On 21 November 2000, Streamwaves
Streamwaves
Streamwaves is an online music service launched in 1999. Founded during file sharing service Napster's legal troubles, Streamwaves was the first company to license major label masters for a subscription service, and the first company to launch a subscription service with major label...

 and EMI signed a deal licensing EMI's catalogue in a digital format for their online streaming music service. This was the first time EMI had licensed any of its catalogue to a streaming music website.

Pop star Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams
Robert Peter "Robbie" Williams is an English singer-songwriter, vocal coach and occasional actor. He is a member of the pop group Take That. Williams rose to fame in the band's first run in the early- to mid-1990s. After many disagreements with the management and certain group members, Williams...

 signed a 6 album deal in 2002 paying him over £80 million ($157 million), which was not only the biggest recording contract in British music history at the time, but also the second biggest in music history behind that of Michael Jackson.

Apple Records
Apple Records
Apple Records is a record label founded by The Beatles in 1968, as a division of Apple Corps Ltd. It was initially intended as a creative outlet for the Beatles, both as a group and individually, plus a selection of other artists including Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, Badfinger, and Billy Preston...

, the record label representing the Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, launched a suit against EMI for non-payment of royalties on 15 December 2005. The suit alleged that EMI have withheld $50 million from the record label, however an EMI spokesman noted that audits of record label accounts are not that unusual, confirming at least two hundred such audits performed on the label, but that these audits rarely result in legal action. A legal settlement was announced on 12 April 2007 and terms were undisclosed.

On 2 April 2007, EMI announced it would begin releasing its music in DRM
Digital rights management
Digital rights management is a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale. DRM is any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that...

-free formats. Initially they are rolling out in superior sounding high-bitrate AAC format via Apple's iTunes Store
ITunes Store
The iTunes Store is a software-based online digital media store operated by Apple. Opening as the iTunes Music Store on April 28, 2003, with over 200,000 items to purchase, it is, as of April 2008, the number-one music vendor in the United States...

 (under the iTunes Plus category).

Tracks will cost $1.29/€1.29/£0.99. Legacy tracks with FairPlay
FairPlay
FairPlay is a digital rights management technology created by Apple Inc., based on technology created by the company Veridisc. FairPlay is built into the QuickTime multimedia software and used by the iPhone, iPod, iPad, Apple TV, iTunes, and iTunes Store and the App Store. Formerly, all songs in...

 DRM will still be available for $0.99/€0.99/£0.79 – albeit with lower quality sound and DRM restrictions still in place. Users will be able to ‘upgrade’ the EMI tracks that they have already bought for $0.30/€0.30/£0.20. Albums are also available at the same price as their lower quality, DRM counterparts and music videos from EMI will also be DRM-free. The higher-quality, DRM-free files became available worldwide on iTunes on 30 May 2007, and are expected to appear on other music download services as well in the near future.

Since then Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

 has also announced sales of DRM-free music (which they described as an experiment).

In May 2006, EMI attempted to buy Warner Music Group
Warner Music Group
Warner Music Group is the third largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry, making it one of the big four record companies...

, which would have reduced the world's four largest record companies (Big Four) to three; however, the bid was rejected. Warner Music Group launched a Pac-Man defence, offering to buy EMI. EMI rejected the $4.6bn offer.

Terra Firma takeover


After a dramatic 7% decline in the British market share, from 16% to 9% and the announcement that EMI had sustained a loss of £260 million in 2006/2007, EMI was acquired by Terra Firma Capital Partners
Terra Firma Capital Partners
Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd is a leading U.K.-based private equity firm, best known for its failed investment in British music company EMI. Financier Guy Hands founded the firm in 2002 through the spin-off of Nomura Principal Finance Group...

 in August 2007 which purchased it for £4.2 billion.

Following the transition, several important artists including Radiohead
Radiohead
Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke , Jonny Greenwood , Ed O'Brien , Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway .Radiohead released their debut single "Creep" in 1992...

 walked away from the label, while other artists such as Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

 had seen the writing on the wall and left ahead of the takeover. At the same time, The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

 signed a one-album deal with Interscope Records
Interscope Records
Interscope Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group that currently operates as one third of UMG's Interscope-Geffen-A&M label group.-History:...

/Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

 outside of its contract with EMI, which expired on February 2008, and then in July 2008 signed a new long term deal with Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

.

The Terra Firma takeover is also reported to have been the catalyst behind a lawsuit
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

 filed by Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

 over unpaid royalties.

Around the same time, Guy Hands
Guy Hands
Guy Hands , is an English financier and investor. He is most notable as the founder and chairman of Terra Firma Capital Partners, one of the largest private equity firms in Europe. Hands also previously served as Chairman of the U.K...

, CEO of Terra Firma Capital Partners, came to EMI with restructuring plans to cut between 1,500 and 2,000 jobs and to reduce costs by £200 million a year.
As a result, the UK chief executive Tony Wadsworth
Tony Wadsworth
Tony Wadsworth is a British radio presenter who can currently be heard on BBC Radio Leicester, where he presents the mid-morning show on Saturdays and Sundays....

 left EMI after 25 years in January 2008. The cuts were planned to take effect over the year 2008, and will affect up to a third of EMI's 5,500 staff. Another EMI singer Joss Stone
Joss Stone
Jocelyn Eve Stoker , better known by her stage name Joss Stone, is an English soul singer-songwriter and actress. Stone rose to fame in late 2003 with her multi-platinum debut album, The Soul Sessions, which made the 2004 Mercury Prize shortlist...

 is battling the label, and has offered to forfeit £2 million ($2.8 million) in hopes of being released from her contract. Stone has said that after EMI was taken over by Terra Firma, her relationship with the label has gone sour and that there is "no working relationship".
In an interview with BBC 6music, Roisin Murphy
Róisín Murphy
Róisín Marie Murphy is an Irish singer-songwriter and record producer, known for her electronic style.Murphy first came to note as part of the electronic music duo Moloko. Her partner in the band was then-boyfriend Mark Brydon. After the two ended their romantic relationship, Murphy released her...

 clearly stated that she left the label as well because of similar disagreements. She also commented on the difficulties she had while recording her second solo album Overpowered
Overpowered
Overpowered is the second solo studio album by Irish recording artist Róisín Murphy, released in Ireland on 12 October 2007 and in the United Kingdom and rest of Europe on 15 October 2007. The album was to be released in the United States in late 2008 or early 2009, but was cancelled by EMI due to...

.

In 2008, EMI withdrew from the South-East Asian market entirely, forcing its' large roster of acts to search out contracts with other unaffiliated labels. As a result, the South-East Asian market is now the only region in the world where EMI is no longer in operation, although the record label does continue to operate in Hong Kong and Indonesia (which is currently named Arka Music Indonesia). The Chinese and Taiwanese operation of EMI as well as the Hong Kong branch of Gold Label, was sold to Typhoon Group and reformed as Gold Typhoon. The Philippine branch of EMI changed its name to PolyEast Records
PolyEast Records
PolyEast Records is a record label in the Philippines. It is the international licensee of EMI Internationa and is a member of the Philippine Association of the Record Industry.-History:...

, and is now a joint venture between EMI itself and Pied Piper Records Corporation. The physical audio and video products of the label have been distributed in South-East Asia by Warner Music since December 2008, while new EMI releases in China and Taiwan, were distributed under Gold Typhoon which was previously known as EMI Music China and EMI Music Taiwan, respectively. Meanwhile, the Korean branch of EMI (known as EMI Korea Limited) had its physical releases distributed by Warner Music Korea. EMI Music Japan, the Japanese EMI branch, remains unchanged from the reflection of Toshiba
Toshiba
is a multinational electronics and electrical equipment corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It is a diversified manufacturer and marketer of electrical products, spanning information & communications equipment and systems, Internet-based solutions and services, electronic components and...

's divestiture to the business by EMI buying the whole branch way back July 2007, making it a full subsidiary.

In July 2009, there were reports that EMI would not sell CDs to independent album retailers
Record shop
A record shop or record store is an outlet that sells recorded music. Although vinyl records and audio cassettes are no longer sold in the majority of music stores, in favour of compact discs and home video recordings products, people in some countries, like the UK, still use the term "record...

 in a bid to cut costs, but in fact only a handful of small physical retailers were affected.

Citigroup ownership


In February 2010, EMI Group reported pre-tax losses of £1.75 billion for the year ended March 2009, including write-downs
Revaluation of fixed assets
In finance, a revaluation of fixed assets is a technique that may be required to accurately describe the true value of the capital goods a business owns...

 on the value of its music catalogue.
In addition, KPMG
KPMG
KPMG is one of the largest professional services networks in the world and one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young and PwC. Its global headquarters is located in Amstelveen, Netherlands....

 issued a going concern
Going concern
A going concern is a business that functions without the threat of liquidation for the foreseeable future, usually regarded as at least within 12 months.-Definition of the 'going concern' concept:...

 warning on the holding company's accounts regarding an ability to remain solvent.

Citigroup (which held $4 billion in debt) took 100% ownership of EMI Group from Terra Firma on February 1, 2011, writing off £2.2 billion of debt and reducing EMI's debt load by 65%. The group was put up for sale and final bids were due by 5 October 2011.

Sony/Universal sale


On 12 November 2011, it was announced that EMI has sold its recorded music operations to Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is an American music group, the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations...

 for £1.2 billion ($1.9billion) and its music publishing operations to a Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

-led consortium for $2.2 billion. Among the other companies that had competed for the recorded music business was Warner Music Group which was reported to have made a $2 billion bid.

EMI Music Publishing


As well as the well-known record label the group also owns EMI Music Publishing, which is the largest music publisher in the world. EMI Music Publishing has won the Music Week
Music Week
Music Week is a trade paper for the UK record industry.Founded in 1959 as Record Retailer, it was relaunched on 18 March 1972 as Music Week . On 17 January 1981 the title was again changed, owing to the increasing importance of sell-through videos, to Music & Video Week...

Award for Publisher of the Year every year for over 10 years; in 2009, for the first time in history the award was shared jointly with Universal Music Publishing
Universal Music Publishing Group
Universal Music Publishing Group is a music publishing company and is part of the Universal Music Group.UMPG owns or administers more than 1 million copyrights. They are one of the largest music publishing businesses in the world with more than 47 offices in 41 countries...

. As is often the case in the music industry, the publishing arm and record label are very separate businesses.

See also


  • EMI Films
    EMI Films
    EMI Films was a British film and television production company and distributor. The company was formed after the takeover of Associated British Picture Corporation in 1968 by EMI....

  • EMI Records
    EMI Records
    EMI Records is the flagship record label founded by the EMI company in 1972 and launched in January 1973 as the successor to its Columbia label. The EMI label was launched worldwide...

  • EMI Televisa Music
    EMI Televisa Music
    EMI Televisa Music is a record label established in 2005 as a partnership between EMI and Televisa. It focuses on Latin American music.- Artists signed to this label :*A.B...

    /Capitol Latin
  • EMI Songbook Series
    EMI Songbook Series
    The EMI Songbook Series is a series of 10 compact disc compilation albums released by EMI in 1998 - 1999. Each disc features songs specifically chosen by a notable cult figure from 20th century popular culture. The sleeve work for each disc frequently includes essays, illustrations or other...

  • List of EMI labels
  • List of musicians signed to EMI
  • List of record labels
  • EMI CMG
  • The Gramophone Company
  • The HMV Group
    • HMV
      HMV
      His Master's Voice is a trademark in the music business, and for many years was the name of a large record label. The name was coined in 1899 as the title of a painting of the dog Nipper listening to a wind-up gramophone...

    • Waterstone's
      Waterstone's
      Waterstone's is a British book specialist established in 1982 by Tim Waterstone that employs around 4,500 staff throughout the United Kingdom and Europe....

  • Streamwaves
    Streamwaves
    Streamwaves is an online music service launched in 1999. Founded during file sharing service Napster's legal troubles, Streamwaves was the first company to license major label masters for a subscription service, and the first company to launch a subscription service with major label...

  • Baak Doi

Further reading

  • International Directory of Company Histories, St. James Press.
  • Peter Martland, Since Records Began: EMI, the first hundred years. Batsford (London) 1997. 359pp. ISBN 0-7134-6207-8

External links