paidContent 50: The world’s most successful digital media companies

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45. EMI

Music, United Kingdom (Private)

Last year’s rank: N/A

Digital Content Revenue

$904,320,000 (32% of total)


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Digital Snapshot

EMI and other labels are benefitting from  new growth in the music business prompted by growing digital singles sales. Now it is keen to milk the unlimited-access opportunity presented by new services like Spotify, to find new revenue and new listeners. It may not be bringing in significant new money yet (major labels took equity in Spotify in return for royalties the service would have paid them) – but the labels’ new OpenEMI initiative (an API through which developers can make EMI music and videos available to end users more easily) demonstrated a new inclination to think outside traditional music licensing boundaries.

Key Move

After taking full ownership of EMI following Terra Firma’s inability to pay loans for its earlier purchase, Citibank agreed to sell EMI’s recorded music arm to Universal and its publishing business to a Sony-led consortium. The deal promises to shrink music’s four majors into two, and push another British company into foreign hands, but it faces regulatory hurdles.

Our Methodology

Official figures are unavailable since the ownership change. We estimate EMI Group’s 2011/12 revenue directionally, based on indicators from the last disclosed annual figures, for 2009/10, and based on the industry-wide standard of 32% digital revenue in record labels.

Source: Our estimates

— RA

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