How's the music business doing these days? Glad you asked! Last night it was announced (thankfully not by Billy Bush) that EMI, the music group responsible for Coldplay, is thinning its ranks by 2,000 employees worldwide in a restructuring plan expected to be unveiled tomorrow. Likely to be hit the hardest are the sales and marketing staffs at EMI's 40 record labels, many of whom were apparently doing overlapping work, at least according to Guy Hands, whose private-equity firm Terra Firma inexplicably purchased the company for $6.4 billion last May.
Obviously this sounds pretty bad, especially since the company's workforce currently numbers only 5,500, but it's definitely not a surprise, given the music industry's terrible performance these past several years and the fact that most reasonable people haven't paid for music since 1998 and likely never will again. And isn't Hands just trying to trim costs until he can sell EMI's catalogs to a company that actually knows how to turn a profit giving stuff away for free, like Google or Yahoo? Either way, we can probably look forward to three more similar announcements when Universal, Sony BMG, and Warner finish up on their 2007 accounting.