British supergroup Coldplay has sold millions of albums around the world, has a ton of hit singles, and is one of the top-grossing live acts on the road today. So why is the band about to be let go by its record company, EMI Music?
That's because after months of speculation, regulators in both Europe and the U.S. have okayed the sale of EMI, one of the last four major music companies, to Universal Music Group, also one of the "Big Four." But in order for the Big Four to become the Big Three, U.K. regulators have ordered that EMI must sell off a third of its assets and subsidiary labels. One of those is the U.K. label Parlophone, which is home to Coldplay, Pink Floyd, Radiohead's first six albums and many more.
- Universal will still control the rights to the Beatles catalog, which is on Parlophone but will be retained by Universal.
- Already the biggest music company in the world, Universal will control approximately 40 percent of the U.S. market once the sale is completed.
- Several major music industry players are said to be interested in buying Parlophone, which could eventually turn into a "mini-major" depending on who buys it and how it is restructured.
- Coldplay is touring through the end of the year behind its fifth album, Mylo Xyloto, which came out in 2011. A concert DVD/CD called Live 2012 is due out in November and will presumably be the band's last release through EMI.
WHAT DO YOU THINK??
- Should this purchase have been allowed to happen in the first place. Should one label control so much of the market?
- Are these just desperate moves for a dying industry? Do you think the last three companies will eventually become just one big music conglomerate?
- Can you envision a time when we don't even have record labels?
INTERNET COMMENTS at NPR.org -- agree or not?
Anthony M wrote: "Cool. Now they can slowly go bankrupt together as the mainstream music industry declines and collapses under the weight of the crap they've been trying to feed us the past two decades."
Ardi Hominid wrote: "I don't see how this merger helps the music. Both companies are big enough to have the resources to promote their music. One dynamic that no one discusses is the competition between the old and new music. A new artist has to compete with the new, old, and dead artist. As catalogs grow there is more competition."
Michael wrote: "It may be better for the music to have lots of smaller companies -- companies that support music for the love and passion instead of the dollar...because the dollar is shrinking. That's just the way it is."