Yesterday the news of EMI confirming cuts hit heavy on the interwebs. The Guardian confirmed one of the biggest fears, the loss of 1,500 to 2,000 jobs worldwide, commenting, "EMI, bought by Guy Hands' Terra Firma group last year, confirmed today that worldwide headcount will be cut by between 1,500 and 2,000 as it slashes costs. Confirming EMI insiders' fears, the company said ahead of staff briefings this morning that it was launching a series of wide-ranging initiatives within its recorded music division to enable the group to become the world's most innovative, artist friendly and consumer-focused music company."
While some of the new ideas of restructuring the company seem like smart no brainers; like focusing on albums sold rather than shipped, other rumored ideas make us a little queasy at the mere thought of them. British based music site AngryApe is claiming that corporate sponsorship might come into play saying, "...the label is to offer sponsorship on their band's albums, meaning future releases may be accompanied by corporate branding...What this sponsorship means has not yet been confirmed, but many believe CD artwork could feature advertising from large companies."
Is our industry that much in the corporate shitter that we have come to this? The rise of getting albums digitally is nice and convenient, but there is something special to be said for holding album artwork in your hand. Call me old school, but I like looking at the wall in front of my desk and seeing hundreds of album covers lining the CD shelves. Could you imagine someone like Peter Saville working on an album cover and being told he had to work in a logo for a major soft drink company or, even better yet, telling an outspoken band that they had to align themselves with a product on their album cover?
At the end of the day music is a business like any other one, and money matters. The days of Tony Wilson's Factory Records business plan are long gone. The reason I personally got into it, like so many others, was because of a burning passion for the art itself. I just wish some people out there felt the same way, and were able to treat it as such. Our best wishes go out to those that may get the pink slip this week.