The cutbacks and lay offs at record company EMI are probably the 1st sign of the big record companies finally waking up and smelling the coffee. The music world had been changing around them and suddenly it’s all very serious.
EMI is currently in the stewardship of the much maligned Guy Hands, a venture capitalist. He has at least realised that some artists are over paid and not delivering much for the huge investment EMI have invested in them (hello Robbie Williams) which in light of today’s much changed music market almost seems the equivalent of paying somebody not to work (even if they are now technically ‘on strike’ but spot the difference).
The days of big advances for new artists are probably over. It no longer costs big bucks to make music unless you’re placing an artist in the capable hands of a collaborative producer with a known track record and many new artists can find their niche initially via the Internet. What costs are promotional videos and marketing and after all that the rewards are no longer substantial. These days an artist can achieve a place at No 1 in the singles chart with a little over 17,000 sales
Currently around 85% of the music that EMI releases does not make a profit. Turning around an old and established company like EMI must be akin to trying to stop a giant ocean faring super tanker that suddenly realises it’s travelling in entirely the wrong direction. It’s going to take time and some on board my jump ship rather than face the task ahead.