A series of disasters culminating in the massive flop of Mariah Carey's album Glitter will cost one fifth of EMI's workforce their jobs. The world's third largest music business is axing 1,800 out of 9,000 staff worldwide as it struggles to pull its recorded music business round.
EMI spent Â£38 million buying out its contract with US diva Carey against a background of falling CD sales, few major hits and growing music piracy over the internet. EMI said that it would take a total Â£240 million hit in exceptional charges this year. That will completely wipe out pre-tax profits which were already forecast to have collapsed from Â£260 million to Â£150 million in the financial year ending this month.
The massive shake-up has been ordered by Alain Levy, the music mogul brought in six months ago to replace Ken Berry, paid off for a rumoured Â£5 million last year. Berry was behind two failed attempts to merge the British firm first with Warner Brothers Music and then with Germany's Bertelsmann. Berry's ex-wife Nancy quit sister company Virgin Music shortly afterwards, also with a rumoured huge payoff.
EMI said the job cuts would cost it Â£110 million. Most would take place by the end of this month and the rest by the end of September. It would not say how many jobs would go in the UK but said they were spread across 50 countries with 'no one country taking a big hit'. It also declined to say how many jobs would be lost at its London headquarters in Hanover Square.
The payout to Carey was made after the soul singer's first album on its Virgin label sold only two million copies compared with average sales of eight million for her previous albums.
(This Is London)
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