Delayed rev action

Coldplay and Gorillaz boost EMI financials

Sales of new albums from Coldplay and Gorillaz helped drive EMI Group’s revenues and operating profits for the fiscal first quarter ahead of the year-earlier period.

“X&Y,” the latest offering from Coldplay, has shipped 6 million copies and topped charts in 32 countries. Gorillaz’s “Demon Days” has shipped 2 million units, the company said.

Revenues and operating profits improved at both the company’s recorded music division, EMI Music, and at EMI Music Publishing in the quarter ended June 30. Company did not provide figures.

In addition, digital revenues were more than double those in the same quarter last year. Digital revenue represented 4.8% of total revenues, up from 3.5% in the fourth quarter of the prior financial year.

“We expect consumer uptake of legitimate digital music to be the key industry growth driver in the coming years,” chairman Eric Nicoli told shareholders at the annual general meeting in London.

Lowered expectations

Company, which owns several record labels including Virgin and Capitol, was forced to cut its profit forecast last year after the releases of the Coldplay and Gorillaz albums were delayed.

Analysts have suggested that Coldplay’s previous offering, “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” which sold 9 million copies, generated 2%-3% of the company’s sales in 2002, the year it was released.

EMI last year shed underperforming artists and reorganized its labels to counter a decline in recorded music sales.

Nicoli said the company continues to make strides in developing local repertoire. He cited as successes in the first few months of the year albums from KT Tunstall, the Magic Numbers and Athlete in the U.K., Amos Lee and Dierks Bentley in the U.S., Raphael in France, Subsonica in Italy and Wir Sind Helden in Germany.

Releases expected during this financial year include albums from Robbie Williams, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Jermaine Dupri, Yellowcard, Bonnie Raitt, Goldfrapp, Jamelia, Iron Maiden, Kate Bush, Marisa Monte and a greatest hits project marking the 65th anniversary of the birth of John Lennon, supported by Yoko Ono.

Nicoli also touted EMI Music Publishing’s market leading position. Synchronization deals have been signed in the financial year to date with Nike, Fidelity Investments, Coca-Cola, Ford and Cingular.

(Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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