Monday, May 24, 2004

MATHUMATICS: Of course, we've had quite a bit of fun demanding to know how EMI can wail about piracy wrecking their business when they'd most recently declared a whopping third of a billion quid profit. Now, of course, the new set of figures has shown how badly piracy is biting - they've got a headline loss of GBP52.8m. See? The music industry really means it when they say they're in crisis.

Except, of course, the "loss" includes GBP138.3m of "exceptional charges" - i.e., the costs of people they're laying off, closure of the CD pressing business, and so on. Because, actually, if you only look at selling stuff, EMI did really well - GBP163.3million in profit on an underlying measure; and since Robbie Williams (the one cash cow in the stable) hadn't done very much last year, that's not bad by anyone's measure.

You do wonder if they haven't taken such pains to try and play their profitable year of healthy trading as a loss because, you know, people might lose sympathy with a company doing well moaning that its market has been eaten away by illegal activity? That its easier for a loss-making company to drag its own customers through court rather than one in rude health?

Let's not let EMI run away with the idea that it's doing badly - in fact, let's all take this opportunity to drink a toast to their profits, and a successful British company. Prosit!

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