Blog Post

EMI Update: Rolling Stones Reported To Pull New Album, Switch To Universal; New Digital Head

Updated below: EMI Execs Eric Nicoli, Barney Wragg, Roger AmesNo, we’re not going to post every twist and turn in the EMI saga but this one caught my attention: FT is reporting that the Rolling Stones will release their new album, Shine A Light, through Universal Music instead of long-time home EMI. The album is a companion to Martin Scorsese’s anticipated new film centered on two live shows the band in 2006. The Stones history with EMI is complicated. This move was taken, sources told the FT, in part because of new management ie Guy Hands; any other reasons, even if they took precedence, are likely to be forgotten quickly as this becomes an example of artists leaving.

This past June, EMI’s Eric Nicoli, Roger Ames and Barney Wragg stopped by our NYC mixer at the Hilton, where I snapped the photo shown here. Nicoli told me about a screening he’d just seen of the Scorsese film and how good he thought it was. Nicoli, of course, lost his job as soon as Terra Firma took over. Digital head Wragg’s departure, fallout from the re-org now underway, went public yesterday. Ames is the only one of the three still there, his role as North American chief has expanded to include A&R for the UK and Ireland. I don’t know why EMI’s release of this album wasn’t locked in then — or if it was but with an out clause, say, one for change of management. EMI should still make some money from it; EMI Music Publishing still holds much of the catalog and sales often get a boost from movie releases, new albums and publicity.

I do know that however people feel about the execs who have gone, the new artist policies or the re-org, a lot of insiders and observers have been urging radical change for years. Wonder how the shake-up at EMI would be viewed if a music industry vet was at the helm.

Updated: EMI has announced a replacement to Barney Wragg, the digital head who left the company with this restructuring: Mark Hodgkinson, currently EVP of global marketing, will be taking over the role, reports Guardian.