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Parlophone confident staff will be re-homed at Warner

Tim Ingham
Parlophone confident staff will be re-homed at Warner

Parlophone Label Group UK CEO Andria Vidler has told Music Week of her optimism that her key staff will find new jobs under new owner Warner Music Group.

WMG confirmed its purchase of PLG for £487m earlier today. The all-cash transaction is expected to pass EU regulatory approvals in the summer, following a consultation procedure with PLG employees.

PLG currently has a global headcount of around 800-900 staff - roughly two-thirds of the European size of former parent EMI Music, before the major was sold to Universal last year.

Vidler (pictured) said that responses from artist managers she had recieved since the announcement had "all been positive".

"I haven’t had a negative conversation yet," she told Music Week. "I think managers appreciate that Warners of today is aligned to the Parlophone Label Group of today. Geographically and strategically they’re complementary. I think there’ll will be many artists that will be delighted with today's news."

Announcing the deal earlier, WMG CEO Stephen Cooper said his team was "committed to making this a great outcome for Parlophone’s artists and employees, who will find in WMG a similar spirit and culture that is dedicated to providing the most supportive and innovative home for recording artists".

"I don’t think Steve Cooper would have chosen the words he did in the press release if he wasn’t sending PLG staff a deliberate, positive signal," added Vidler. "I think Warner understands that artists buy into teams and develop relationships - trusting relationships - with staff. That comes across in their press release. I don’t think they would have said that if they hadn’t recognised that for artists [staff relationships] are very important."

When asked if she was optimistic that PLG was and would be a profitable entity for WMG, Vidler said simply: "Yes. I am very confident of that."

Whilst reassuring business partners that PLG would be operating with the same management structure before the Warner deal was passed in the EU and Brazil ("business as usual"), Vidler nodded to a potential future combined market share for Warner and PLG that could see the companies become the market's No.2 label behind Universal.

"Assuming everything goes through the regulatory hurdles - and I’m confident it should - I think we could be a force to be reckoned with, quite frankly," she said.

Warner's strongest competitor for the PLG sale is thought to have been a combined bid from BMG and Sony. Reports suggested the pair were planning to split PLG's catalogue and new artists, leaving fewer opportunities for PLG staff to be re-homed.

"I couldn’t possibly comment on what Sony and BMG might have done, because obviously now they’re not going to be doing whatever they might have been planning," said Vidler, adding: "I think the Warners business has been more strategically aligned with our approach over the last couple of years - one of the reasons I think it’s a great home. Their strategy with artists, they way they work with artists is more similar to EMI and it should make for as easy a transition for artists as possible."

The Parlophone Label Group is comprised of the Parlophone label and Chrysalis and Ensign labels as well as EMI’s recorded music operations in Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and Sweden.

Its artist roster and catalog of recordings include, among many others, Air, Coldplay, Daft Punk, Danger Mouse, David Guetta, Deep Purple, Duran Duran, Edith Piaf, Gorillaz, Iron Maiden, Itzhak Perlman, Jethro Tull, Kate Bush, Kylie Minogue, Maria Callas, Pet Shop Boys, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Shirley Bassey, Tina Turner and Tinie Tempah. 

Indie label groups have applauded Warner's victory in winning the auction for PLG over Sony/BMG. Beggars Group co-founder Martin Mills told Music Week:

"Warners winning this is the best result for the market, given the commission's expressed desire to create a countervailing force to the established duopoly of Universal and Sony.

"We trust that direct benefits to the independent label sector and the artist community will flow from it."

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Tags: emi, Warner, PLG, Andria Vidler, Parlophone Label Group

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