Friday, January 11, 2008

Robbie Williams is not having it

Whoever thought we'd be hearing Robbie Williams yelling "everybody out". Out in the sense that Miriam Karlin meant when she said it in the Rag Trade, of course.

According to The Times, Tim Clark is threatening that his gurning charge will be 'going on strike' by refusing to deliver his next album to EMI.

Actually, since the next album is meant to be one of his dreadful swing ones, we're not sure this might be quite the blood curdling threat it's supposed to be.

Clark, who's Williams' current manager, seems to be slightly vague about what the aims of the strike might be:

Tim Clark, Williams’s manager, told The Times: “The question is, ‘Should Robbie deliver the new album he is due to release to EMI?’ We have to say the answer is ‘No’. We have no idea how EMI will market and promote the album. They do not have anyone in the digital sphere capable of doing the job required. All we know is they are going to decimate their staff.”

He throws in some abuse of Guy Hands for good measure:
Mr Clark discussed Williams’s future with Mr Hands, but said the financier was acting like a “plantation owner” who had stumbled into the record industry via a “vanity purchase”.

This seems a little unfair - whatever your view of Terra Firma and their odd little bunch of companies, they're hardly the sort of organisation that is going to invest cash in something for the 'vanity' of it; the use of 'plantation owner' - with its echo of Prince's claims that Warners treated him like a slave - is also a little over the top.

Clark might criticise EMI for not knowing what it's doing "in the digital sphere" - but that was the case before the Terra Firma takeover; much of the restructuring since has been an attempt to shift the company from being a record label into one managing digital content. You can't have it both ways.

After all, EMI might not be in such bad straits if the previous owners hadn't pissed away large sums on the likes of Williams, who is getting Beatles-sized money for, at best, a Rod Stewart-sized career.

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