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EMI: Radiohead demanded £10 million deal

Radiohead’s former record label revealed the label split with the band for demanding ‘an extraordinary amount of money’, which new EMI boss Guy Hands refused to pay. According to The Times, Radiohead walked out of EMI in the autumn after Guy Hands rejected a deal with the band that would have cost the record company more than £10 million.

The massive demand is far greater than had been thought. Radiohead had been offered a £3 million advance by Mr Hands for their latest album, but wanted more. An EMI spokesman said last night: “Radiohead were demanding an extraordinary amount of money and we did not believe that our other artists should have to subsidise their gains.”

The band’s management hit back, saying that it believed that more high-profile artists could abandon EMI. It accused Mr Hands of not negotiating seriously. Radiohead wanted EMI to hand over at least some of the copyrights to their catalogue of albums such as OK Computer, a demand that would have devalued EMI’s recorded music catalogue and cost the British music major millions in future earnings.

Giving Radiohead the rights to their last two albums would have presented EMI with a £4 million loss. It is believed that the band was also seeking a guaranteed £3 million EMI budget on international marketing for the new album, although their management does not accept this figure.

Guy Hands’s brief personal negotiations with Radiohead’s management came in the first weeks after Terra Firma, his private equity firm, took over EMI in a £2.1 billion deal.

Bryce Edge, Radiohead manager, told The Times: “We couldn’t move ahead with EMI because Guy Hands irrevocably refused to discuss the catalogue in any meaningful way. We sold 25 million records and we have the moral rights over those six albums. We wanted a say in how they are exploited in the future. We were not seeking a big advance payment, or a guaranteed marketing spend as discussions never got that far.”

Mr Edge hinted that more big names were set to leave EMI. Artists are upset that record companies still deduct “packaging costs” from royalty payments on digital downloads, which require no packaging.

Radiohead declined further discussions when their demand for control over their back catalogue was rebuffed. The six albums cannot be prised from EMI’s control for the 50-year period allowed by copyright law.

Radiohead’s original EMI contract also had no facility for digital sales, so it would not receive royalties through sales from the iTunes store. “It’s no surprise that artists are throwing their arms up in the air,” Mr Edge said.

Radiohead are charging £42.50 for next year’s UK tour, more than Prince’s shows at the O2 arena in London. Mr Edge said: “We don’t want to go on tour and lose money. It is expensive to put on the quality [of] show people expect. It is a comparable price to artists of a similar stature.”

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  • Hell it worked out better for them in the end

    I doubt EMI would be willing to do a Pay what you want method for the album.

    And thats what got the album so much buzz from non-Radiohead fanatics in the first place

  • ENI Bad!

  • F*** YOU GUY HANDS, you immoral bastard! Go trip in a ditch! Radiohead was right to have not signed with EMI again, they don’t deserve to be mistreated this way.

  • And “what?”, it’s EMI, not ENI.

  • Oh, I guess EMI didn’t want to deprive the obviously struggling Robbie Williams of his £80,000,000 contract.

    So Radiohead isn’t worth 1/8th of Robbie Williams? Hah – EMI sucks and they’ve made that clearer and clearer in how they’ve dealt with this Radiohead situation. Absolutely mind-boggling.

  • REM got 80 Million Dollar for 5 albums back then. So what´s the point, EMI? 😉

  • god, i would love to sue EMI myself if i was able to and was able to take them down…fuck them, trying to make radiohead look bad, when they are the ones selling the awful boxset, and trying to get publicity…damn…assholes

  • In what way shape or form has EMI ever mistreated Radiohead? You fanboys are nuts

  • no better example of the morality of can i find

  • And I’m no apologist for record labels I assure you

  • fuck emi. they’re losing the best musicians they’ve ever had.

  • seriously. they’re horrible. funny that this guy gives such a bold testimonial after EMI radiohead discboxes received such a negative responding.

  • As long as there is still quality in their music, wanting to share their talents after so many years, giving some high quality Discboxes… I’m sticking with Radiohead. Still, EMI got them recognized and still made a legit business sell. Thank you EMI for making Radiohead available and also for turning them down. That way when they do tour it won’t cost $100’s as well as letting Radiohead take a more artist creative flow. It is a win win situation for me. Thank you Radiohead for the concert you have done for us and the many Other Artist Tracks you do so beautifully.

  • Parlaphone used to be one of the good guys who stuck with artists for a while, let them develop. Which is more than can be said for other major labels who tended to drop bands as soon as their first album flopped. Hence parlaphone gave us Blur and Radiohead. If they’d been signed to Mercury or Island they would have been dropped after Pablo Honey and Leisure respectively.

  • It’s not as though Radiohead wanted pure cash, they wanted the rights to their music.

  • ‘Artists are upset that record companies still deduct “packaging costs” from royalty payments on digital downloads, which require no packaging.’ Sounds like the crazy ‘handling charge’ (£8.50 for 2 tickets) I had to pay on the tour tickets. Management don’t seem to care about that?

  • it’s really not emi, it’s the firm Terra Firma guys, sure emi got them out there, but they didn’t change their contract to fit the time, i.e. digital music…radiohead knows emi helped them,that’s why they were sad leaving…read the recent interviews and u’ll see that, but obviously they had too since Guys Hands was being a douchebag and listening to Terra Firma rather than their best band on the label.

  • business is business… so, whatever, I still love Radiohead. That’s the right kind of money anyway for a band that big anyway. FUCK EMI.

  • Radiohead’s split with EMI had to do with the band wanting more money and nothing to do with some retarded ‘think about the fans’ BS?




  • F Y I_____ if you care
    for your information>>>

    we did not ask for a load of cash from our old record label EMI to re- sign.
    that is a L I E.
    The Times in the UK should check its facts before it prints such dirt.

    whAT we WANTED WAS some control over OUR WOrK and how it was used in the future by them-
    that seemed REASONAblE to us,
    as we cared about it a great deal.

    Mr Hands was not interested.
    So neither were we.

    We made the sign of the cross and walked away. Sadly.

    We are extremely upset that this crap is being spread about.

    To bedigging up such bullshit, or more politely airing yer dirty laundry in public,
    seems a very strange way for the head of an international record label to be proceeding.

    On a happier note we took no ‘BRead-HEAd’ advances at all from both independent labels XL and TBD for our new record.

    So judge for yourself.

    AND we are really excited to be working with them. SHock!

    AT least they do not behave like confused bulls in a china shop.

    much love



  • Good to see you own the rights to the classic In Rainbows.
    I hope there are many more albums to follow

  • […] Yorke has responded to the earlier publication in The Times, where EMI’s owner Guy Hands claims Radiohead demanded 10 million pounds for […]

  • oh the drama!

  • Radiohead are in good company, getting alienated from
    EMI by the record company’s nature, which is
    fundamentally breadheaded and overly possessive of
    rights to artists’ music. Roy Harper and The Enid
    went through this in the 70’s-80’s, and Talk Talk
    in the late 80’s. The first two now sell their own
    recordings independently, including old product for which
    they *eventually* re-acquired the rights from EMI.
    Even the EMI trick of releasing a post-contract
    compilation to compete with the band’s own release is
    pretty old (this happened to Talk Talk). However,
    Radiohead’s move to independence
    under these circumstances *is* probably the highest
    profile yet, sets a heck of an example, and
    may well start a bit of a stampede.
    More power to them.

    Now we have the WWW, bands do not
    need multinational $$$-centric companies to reach
    fans and market product. Multimedia corporate dinosaurs
    should get used to the idea that the big meteor is
    here, and the Cretaceous is just about over.

    The debate about millions of $$$ versus rights to
    albums just highlights the breadheadedness of EMI.
    Their *only* thought on discussing possible transfer
    of rights was evidently “how much would this cost us”.

  • “It is a comparable price to artists of a similar stature.” – It is a comparable price to terrible stadium acts wanting to cream the profits, and Elton John. How can this tour prove any more expensive than the Tent Tour – even with 8 years’ inflation, it would be nowhere near the price of the current tour’s tickets. Disappointing.

  • hahahahah @ cheshirecatgrin. too much time on your hands.

  • If you’ve ever been in the position of buying Radiohead tickets from a broker or ebay, it is clear that the market value has been much higher than face value on previous tours. It’s supply and demand, and any group would be stupid to charge artificially low prices. It seriously distorts the market, and brokers end up making much of the profit that rightfully belongs to the band. The processing fee charged by ticketmaster and their ilk is absurd, granted, but Radiohead is doing the right thing by pricing their tickets in line with market value. One thing is certain, Radiohead has always been capitalist; didn’t we all get a kick out of “you are a target market” on the cover of meeting people is easy? I laughed all the way to the cash register.

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