Universal Call EMI Redundancies ‘Unfortunate’

31 January 2013 | 1:02 pm | Scott Fitzsimons

A new head for the label will be appointed soon

Universal Music Australia head George Ash has stressed to theMusic.com.au today that EMI will remain its own entity following Universal's purchase of the historic label and admitted that redundancies caused during the restructure are unfortunate.

As reported by theMusic.com.au this week, EMI Music Australia has lost about 20 staff – approximately 30 percent of its local workforce – as new owners Universal integrate it into their operations. The staff learned their fate on Tuesday while those remaining were offered new roles Wednesday.

Today Ash, Universal Music Group's President Australasia, told theMusic.com.au in a statement that the label's “restructuring has unfortunately resulted in some redundancies, [but] EMI is retaining a significant portion of its people with its own dedicated Marketing, Promotions and A&R functions. The company will have integrated and expanded services within our business in shared areas such as sales, licensing, new business, merchandising, catalogue, finance and supply chain. It will be based at Munn Reserve The Rocks in Sydney from Monday 4th February.”

He added, “It is essential that UMG, now with the addition of EMI, becomes an even more agile and efficient company, not just for this year or the next but for years to come. Our goal is to maximize the resources available to us to continually reinvest in our company so we can do what we [do] best: find, develop and promote artists, increase the output of new music and expand opportunities for digital innovation.”

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Previous EMI Australia head Mark Poston quit the label recently and Ash has indicated today that a new head of EMI will be appointed “shortly”, with key roles to be “confirmed soon”.

“Our approach has been to ensure that we protect EMI and its heritage in the Australian market,” he said, “and so EMI is being maintained as a standalone company, focused on continuing to be a creative powerhouse with a distinct culture, signing and breaking artists and being an entrepreneurial leader… This is an exciting time for EMI's artists and people as we invest to reinvigorate the business and its position in the Australian market. The company has huge gravitas with the creative community and a history in Australia that is unparalleled.”

Parting EMI A&R veteran Glenn Dickie has spoken with theMusic.com.au and summed up the mood, saying that while he is ready for new challenges “there's definitely no good or easy way to go about [redundancies].”

“After discussing with a few people I think that in your gut you knew you're outcome and obviously I'm in a privileged position to have contact with a lot of different people in the industry, so without being told I think I was aware of my fate and planned accordingly. I'm sure my aura was pretty easy to read too.”

Personally, Dickie well be concentrating on the new Pez and Grey Ghost records and will be finalising the line-ups and venues for the upcoming Aussie BBQ local showcases in Los Angeles, South By Southwest and New York, which he organises through Stage Mothers.

“It's exciting times for me and there is now a bunch of really talented people looking for jobs that I would be happy to give a reference for.” He is available on his Stage Mothers email.