Tuesday, May 21, 2002

EMI REPORTS: So, the one and a half thousand people whose lives were junked by EMI might be interested to learn just how badly the company was doing when it laid them off. The group as a whole only made a profit in the year to March 31st, 2002 of just under a fifth of a billion pounds, while the Recorded Music division could barely scrape together a profit of £83million after paying off Mariah Carey. You can see why they'd have to tighten their belts and have a few less people working in the mail room, can't you?
To be fair to the company, the press release accompanying the annual report doesn't - as the BBC coverage suggested - attempt to lay the blame for the droop in sales on piracy - indeed, it's pretty honest that its big releases "underperformed" (as in "this has never happened to me before") and that its management in America screwed up badly; the company only really mentions piracy as being a major problem in Asia and Latin America, but nevertheless announces plans to introduce digital-copying technology "by the end of 2002." At least it won't be the same flaky system as the Sony group labels are employing - EMI's pledge is for something that will allow legitimate duplication while preventing mass-duplication. Whether such a device can be created - how will it know if my MP3 of Mel C is for my Rio, or for being distributed through the internet? - remains to be seen, but at least it's a step in the right direction.
That report to shareholders in full - I'd have been tempted to print a picture of Mariah with "She ate all the pies" scrawled over her face...

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