Beatles producer slams EMI sale

The legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin has spoken out in dismay at the sale of EMI Records to the Universal group. The deal, worth $1.2 billion, sells off the recorded music division to Universal, while a separate $2.2 billion deal will sell the publishing division to a consortium led by Sony.

"I am saddened that great companies have been swallowed up by the giants," Martin lamented, "and the domination of the recording and music publishing industry by Sony and Universal can only lead to a virtual monopoly in the European market. Is this what the people want?"

A man of his maturity should realise that this is business, and that the people have very little say in it. Maybe hanging around with The Beatles in the 60s instilled a little hippie idealism. "I always thought that democracy ensured a level playing field for our music industry, but I am wrong."

Universal issued a robust response, pointing out that they are at least a record company, rather than EMI’s present owners, the financial company Citigroup. "Sir George has not spoken to anyone at Universal Music about this," they said in a statement. "If he did, we – as a long-standing music company which invests tens of millions in great British talent – would welcome the opportunity to explain how we will enhance that creative investment in EMI and its digital future. Universal Music is the right home for the company; we are music people. EMI will fare much better with us than with non-music owners, who only asset-strip the business."

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