EMI passes the buck to internet piracy

20 Nov 2002

Music giant EMI has blamed its biggest full year sales drop on illegal copying of songs on the internet.

The world’s third biggest music company lowered its increase for sales at its recorded-music unit to a drop of 3pc to 6pc on the year ending March.

Divisional chief executive, Alain Levy said: “The situation has been worsening month by month in the recorded-music market.”

Approximately 1.9 billion illegal copies of music were made last year. This represents 40pc of total record sales, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

Industry sources said the slowdown in the economy has also affected sales of CDs, while EMI has failed to attract customers with its new releases.

Last month Sony Corp, the second biggest music company in the world blamed digital piracy for the loss of US$85m (€84m) in its music unit reported in the three months ending June 30.

So far the music giants have been relatively slow to use the net to sell their wares and combat the threat of piracy. Last year EMI along with AOL Time Warner and Bertelsmann AG created MusicNet, an online subscription-based business, naming Richard Cottrell head of its US distribution unit as “global head of anti-piracy”.

In a few weeks time the company is due to start a new service allowing consumers to buy songs from their stable of artists on websites including Yahoo.

EMI said that full-year sales would be about unchanged assisted, they say, by Robbie Williams’s latest offering ‘Escapology’.

By Suzanne Byrne