EMI Misses Digital Targets, Self-Flagellates On Its Mistakes

imageLooks like that turnaround plan may take a while longer to, well, turn things around. EMI losses more than doubled in the year Terra Firma took over; from £287 million in the year to March 30, down to £757 million. More worrying – though Terra Firma forecast 51 percent digital revenue growth in the recorded music division, it only got 29 percent, with digital sales themselves up 19 percent to £166 million. In the publishing division, digital income was up from £25.2 million to just £27.5 million.
In fairness, what chairman John Birt calls “continuing underperformance” is, in part, down to restructuring costs and revaluation of the business – but the ex BBC DG acknowledged some folk reading his annual report statement “may well be struck by the forthright presentation of problems and the absence of rosy assurances about the future”. Indeed, he looked back on the mess Terra inherited with plenty of honesty and resentment. Here’s what EMI’s digital cock-ups have been, according to Birt
Missing figures: When Terra took over last year, EMI wasn’t even keeping comprehensive figures on digital sales, Birt said: “One of the reasons EMI Music was losing customers was that it had limited information on the changing tastes and buying behaviour of customers, particularly those buying through new digital channels. There was also insufficient information to be able to get an accurate picture of how unprofitable to EMI many individual artists were.”
Digital underperformance: “Research conducted post-acquisition showed that EMI Music