(Hypebot) – Guy Hands, the head of new EMI owner Terra Firma told the label's staff on Friday to "embrace digital or die" in a leaked memo.
Hands described Radiohead's self-release as "a wake-up call which we should all welcome and respond to with creativity and energy". He also questioned the Telegraph label model where a few successful bands finance a multitude of bad A&R choices. "Why should they subsidize their label's new talent roster – or for that matter their record company's excessive expenditures and advances?" asked Hands. According to the Telegraph, Hands is also said to have been surprised at the size of salaries paid to second-tier executives.
His solution? A more venture capital like model where the label finances a release or tour in exchange for a percentage of profits.
COMMENTARY – But will he follow through? In the several months since Terra Firma bought EMI, Hands has hinted at this kind of bold thinking. His solutions seem just what's needed to turn aroundcthe Titanics that EMI and other majors have become
But thus far, VP's still occupy dozens of expensive suites and here has been no promise that Hands & CO will fly coach. There have also been no bold aquistions or signings and no new staff brought on with recently proven stripes from the indie sector.
Perhaps I'm too impatient. Hands' rhetoric is far more focused than that of say Rick Rubin or others charged with re-inventing the major labels. But actions speak louder than words' and thus far we've seen no action.