EMI on the Skids, Loses Over $1 Billion

EMI, the smallest of the four major record labels, posted an after-tax loss in the year to March of $1.2 billion, which is a major increase over the $456 million the company lost during the same period the year before, Wired reports.

This comes after EMI allowed a private equity group run by Guy Hands to buy the historic music company in 2007 and scare off its most legendary artists, the report said, including Radiohead, Paul McCartney, and The Rolling Stones. “That’s not restructuring. That’s getting paid to suck.”

Maltby Capital chairman John Birt said in a statement that he believes EMI has now hit bottom and will do better in upcoming quarters. “He conveniently blamed the previous regime for much of the loss, and explained that the music publishing arm of EMI was doing fine and that revenue actually rose some fiscal quarters,” the article said.

EMI was the first (and, it turns out, the only) major label to offer its downloads DRM-free on Apple’s iTunes Plus service; since then, all four labels now sell these tracks on Amazon MP3, Napster, Rhapsody, Zune, and other online music stores as well. Recently, EMI has been busy signing deals with Nokia, MySpace Music, and others, but is it too little too late?

(Image credit: AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)