Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Terra Firma tightens belts at EMI

It's a harsh start for bands and staff at EMI, where Terra Firma are putting on the pressure in a bid to make its takeover numbers work. The FT is reporting that budgets are going to be cut again.

Part of the new regime will involve business plans being submitted before new artists are signed to the label - which, while sounding sensible, seems a spurious endeavour. How can you produce a business plan that accurately reflects likely business for a band which may or may not chime with public taste? Could someone really perform a meaningful SWOT analysis on, say, Power Of Dreams? Would a business plan for Robbie Williams have suggested moving forward with "the fat dancer from Take That"?

Marketing budgets are going to be tighter, too: the EMI source who spoke to the FT was optimistic this might be a positive move:

However, the person close to Terra Firma said the new approach would benefit artists, many of whom share the cost of publicity.

Well, that's true, of course, but it's not as if there's been much evidence of artist management companies calling for their products to be made less visible in the market place - and for established bands, the marketing of albums is a vital part of their brand value.

So, in effect, EMI is going to make it harder for itself to sign new bands while, simultaneously, pissing off its established acts by reducing support to them. Is that such a very good idea?

In not-entirely-unrelated news this morning, Depeche Mode are considering quitting EMI label Mute, who they've been with since they came out of Basildon with haircuts and Vince Clarke.