First of the Gang to Die?
January 6, 2011 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Ze Pequeno writes about the decline and inevitable demise of EMI, and about what might happen next.
posted by Dim Siawns (27 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cue poor attempt at Johnny Rotten impersonation:
Hello EMI. Goooooooodbye.
posted by tiger yang at 12:45 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would play the world's smallest violin for them, but I'm still under contract to Sony for one more album.
posted by sysinfo at 12:59 PM on January 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


They left out the part where EMI sunk boatloads of money into ringtunes, thinking that the most annoying fucking thing in the world is the next big thing. EMI also backed and lost huge money making deals with bands that even a child could tell you weren't going to sell, such as Korn. They even managed to lose money on Coldplay somehow.

These idiots dug their own hole, but at least they were able to buy mounds of coke with their expense accounts on the way down.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:02 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cue poor attempt at Johnny Rotten impersonation

The supply wasn't unlimited after all.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:09 PM on January 6, 2011


eh - the real problem is you can't borrow money to buy a shrinking business. Guy Hands borrowed a lot of fucking money.

It'll get taken over by the banks and then sold off to one of the other remaining labels. If they pay too much that label will go bankrupt.
posted by JPD at 1:16 PM on January 6, 2011


Yet Pink Floyd just signed with EMI for another five years.
posted by tomierna at 1:19 PM on January 6, 2011


Pink Floyd broke up, didn't they?
posted by empath at 1:29 PM on January 6, 2011


That news about Pink Floyd is just strange to me. So EMI will continue to distribute their catalog? But the band is dead -- it died numerous deaths, culminating with Richard Wright's actual demise, meaning that the chances of there ever being a new album or reunion tour are slim-to-none.

But this has me curious... If that contract hadn't been signed, what would have happened to the PF catalog? Would it go out of print? Would someone else be distributing it? How does that work, when typically the record company holds the rights to the recordings?

Damn, now I'm longing for new Pink Floyd. I mean, The Division Bell was great, that's an odd note to leave things on, IMO.
posted by hippybear at 1:35 PM on January 6, 2011


meaning that the chances of there ever being a new album or reunion tour are slim-to-none.

Did they not just do another The Wall re-stage around Europe? Never underestimate Roger Waters' greed.
posted by spicynuts at 1:49 PM on January 6, 2011


"They" would not be Pink Floyd, in this case. And it is a world-wide tour, not just Europe. (I just saw this about a month ago in Tacoma, and it was outstanding on every level. The things Waters did to update and universalize the piece worked incredibly well, and I find I'm still turning the concert over in my mind. I hope there's a DVD, because it's something I want to see again.)
posted by hippybear at 1:52 PM on January 6, 2011


spicynuts: "Did they not just do another The Wall re-stage around Europe? Never underestimate Roger Waters' greed"

Roger Waters hasn't been a member of Pink Floyd in almost thirty years now.
posted by octothorpe at 2:05 PM on January 6, 2011


The idea that in 2007 someone would pay 8 BILLION dollars for a record label is astonishing. What cave was this Guy Hands living in for the past 15 years? Christ, why not just buy Blockbuster Video and NBC while your at it and create some sort of super irrelevant corporation.
posted by boubelium at 2:10 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


In Roger Waters' defense, I'm pretty this was the first re-staging of the Wall since the all-star cast concert in Berlin back in the 90's. It's not like he goes around staging it every year.

Also, I really like the idea of a company called The Super Irrelevant Corporation.
posted by KingEdRa at 2:19 PM on January 6, 2011


... it died numerous deaths, culminating with Richard Wright's actual demise...

Don't forget poor Syd.
posted by TedW at 2:19 PM on January 6, 2011


I only know one thing for sure. In keeping with corporate tradition, those most responsible for this gigantic failure, will be richly rewarded, and will go on to wreak destruction. It really doesn't make any difference what the company is, what the business is, and how large it is.

There seems to be this belief, that there is a kind of magical "executive essence" and if people think you have it, you don't need to know a thing about the actual business to run it, nor are you held to any kind of metric of success. And that's how you can move from GE to running Home Depot into the ground and then smoothly move into the car business to wreak some fine destruction there, all the while hauling home truckloads of money as a reward.

I'm sure we'll keep hearing about heroic Guy Hands running some other business into the ground soon enough. Have you seen those Wall Street bonuses lately?

There may be people at EMI who actually care about the product they market - music. But you can bet none of them have any say in running the business.
posted by VikingSword at 2:48 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't surprise me if any of the major labels started going under. Most of them have been cruising on the momentum they built up over many years of being the gatekeeper that made it all happen for anyone who wanted music. But over the years, they became inept, arrogant, and mindless, and treated their customers like thieves at best (sony rootkit), even ignoring them if there wasn't any money in the exchange or if it wasn't them who initiated the contact. An interesting example...

I purchased a copy, new of a Capitol Records disc, that, on the second playing, refused to track any more. I tried to use it in other players, and it wouldn't work there either, so I was forced to conclude it was defective. The record shop I bought it from had gone out of business, so I decided to contact the label for service. It took me an hour in vain to discover any e-mail address for Capitol that worked - every one I tried came back with a mailer daemon error. I then discovered that Capitol was a subsidiary of... EMI. I sent several concerned, but kindly worded e-mails to them, asking respectfully if there was anything that could be done regarding a replacement, all of which met with silence. I waited two weeks for a reply of any kind, and then went out and downloaded the album. I figure they got my money already, I just wanted to hear what I paid for. I spent less time waiting on the download and doing the unrar and burn than it took me originally to send the e-mails.

If they do go under, it's their own fault for acting like the stuck up spendthrifts they appear to be. And getting the US Government to be their enforcer isn't going to bring a profit out of such a poorly managed operation, either.
posted by cybrcamper at 2:51 PM on January 6, 2011


In all fairness, Syd has been a non-member of Pink Floyd longer than Roger. I mean, I mourn for the guy; he was a brilliant flame which was fed fuel too strong for its wick. But the chances of having some form of PF reunite were a lot greater before Richard died. With him gone, we really won't see anything new under the PF moniker.
posted by hippybear at 3:01 PM on January 6, 2011


So when is it going up for sale? I know some rockers who'd love to buy EMI.
posted by Catblack at 3:37 PM on January 6, 2011


Okay, hippybear, I'm just going to come right out and say it. The Final Cut was the sound of Roger Waters shedding the rest of Pink Floyd like a rumpled cocoon, and emerging as... well... I'm sure a concept album about a dream he had sounded like a great idea at the time.

What remained under the Pink Floyd name was never the same — superficially amazing sound, but not satisfying. And I'll tell you why: because David Gilmour can't do sarcasm or irony. That's why Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd produced songs about war and hypocrisy that still provide inspiration to millions of angry teenage boys whose parents just don't understand, while David Gilmour-era Pink Floyd produced songs about being so rich you divide your time between your flying school and your houseboat.

(Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, whole different band. Not even going to go there.)

So, in conclusion, your deemed-acceptable-if-not-favorite Pink Floyd era sucks. I'm sorry, but it had to be said.
posted by No-sword at 4:10 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


No-sword, you seem like the right guy to ask about this.
I saw the (awesome) staging of The Wall last month and have always wondered.....

Was "Young Lust" supposed to be a spoof of a certain type of 70s bluesrock?

It seems like such an un-Pink Floyd song, from the melody to the overall sound to the cliches "rock n roll refugee" "set me free" and all that.

So was it a conscious poke at that sort of Paul Rodgers/Foreigner style FM cheese? Or was it just a product of those times too?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:41 PM on January 6, 2011


I haven't been a die-hard Floyd fan since high school, but the "Young Lust" scene in the movie version of The Wall certainly led me to believe it was a satire of dumbass cock rock.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:47 PM on January 6, 2011


Cue poor attempt at Johnny Rotten impersonation:
Hello EMI. Goooooooodbye.


Previously.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:06 PM on January 6, 2011


I think actually hippybear is the right guy to ask about that. (If he didn't seem to know more about Pink Floyd than me, it wouldn't be any fun to pompously denounce The Divison Bell in his direction.)

But, yeah, I always interpreted it as a cock-rock pastiche, too: Pink hemmed in to the point where his feelings are only expressible in that pseudo-tough, pseudo-rebellious "rock star" way. (Although I wouldn't be at all surprised if David Gilmour, who wrote the song, originally just set out to write some unironic cock-rock and had his vision subverted later.)
posted by No-sword at 5:36 PM on January 6, 2011


Well, the song was mostly Waters' work, something about boys who blow off school to hang around dirty bookstores. Gilmour definitely added the sharper edges to it, but as far as collaborations go, it's the least collaborative of the three that Gilmour helped write.

And I'm pretty certain that it's meant as a pastiche (exactly the right word). I guess it's supposed to hearken back to the Nile Song vocally, and to be a bit of a kind of generic rock song musically.

I really don't know that much about Pink Floyd. Or I don't think I do. I just like to read about music that has moved me across my lifetime, and PF has done it a lot more than most bands.

And yeah, a lot of people hate The Division Bell. It's a shame -- there's a lot going on in that album, and it's worthy of as deep a crawl-through as any of their earlier work. (I'm not a huge Momentary Lapse Of Reason fan, although that tour is the only one I managed to get to that actually bore the name "Pink Floyd" as the band.)
posted by hippybear at 7:23 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Young lust is a tragic song. The Rockstar is all rocking out on tour and keeps trying to call his wife but a man keeps picking up and hanging up on him. This exacerbates his abandonment complex and prompts him to construct the Pink persona and construct The Wall to keep anyone who might hurt him away.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:51 AM on January 7, 2011


Sorry, that was a pretty inartful comment. Read the lyrics to Young Lust, the phone call at the end is what precipitates his transformation.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:17 AM on January 7, 2011


Ad hominem: I don't think you're entirely wrong. The movie has the phone call happening BEFORE the song Young Lust, and uses the song as a kind of reaction to his wife's affair. The album has his experiences with groupies happening BEFORE the phone call, and as such it turns into a kind of "well, my actions led to her leaving me, so nobody should ever do anything like that" brick of totalitarianism in the wall.
posted by hippybear at 9:22 AM on January 7, 2011


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