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Queen leave EMI for Universal Music Group

Island Records to remaster group's catalog next year

Rock band Queen is moving its catalog from troubled EMI Music to Universal Music Group in a new deal covering territories outside North America.

UMG announced the pact Monday. Its Island Records will remaster and repackage the band’s 15 studio albums in 2011, marking the 40th anniversary of the group’s formation.

Queen is the latest multiplatinum act to ankle EMI with its catalog. The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Radiohead have all exited the music firm.

The group’s first five titles — “Queen” (1973), “Queen II” (1974), “Sheer Heart Attack” (1974), “A Night at the Opera” (1975) and “A Day at the Races” (1976) — arrive from Island in March.

UMG Intl. chief operating officer Max Hole said in a statement: “A band of Queen’s stature, and a catalog with such appeal, present an immense opportunity for a new creative approach.”

Band’s catalog is handled in the U.S. and Canada by Disney’s Hollywood Records, which is distributed by UMG.

Queen has sold an estimated 170 million albums worldwide. Since the 1991 death of lead singer Freddie Mercury, the band reformed with former Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers as lead vocalist. Queen’s last album was released in 2008; Rodgers parted company with the band last year.

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