Radiohead frontman takes aim at EMI chief

LOS ANGELES Wed Jan 2, 2008 5:30am IST

In this file photo Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead performs at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, June 28, 2003. Radiohead has hit out at the chief of its former label after a news report claimed the rock band rejected a 3 million pound ($5.95 million) advance for its new album and demanded the rights to some of its older albums. REUTERS/Toby Melville

In this file photo Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead performs at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, June 28, 2003. Radiohead has hit out at the chief of its former label after a news report claimed the rock band rejected a 3 million pound ($5.95 million) advance for its new album and demanded the rights to some of its older albums.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Radiohead has hit out at the chief of its former label after a news report claimed the rock band rejected a 3 million pound ($5.95 million) advance for its new album and demanded the rights to some of its older albums.

According to the report, published last Friday by The Times of London, Radiohead's demands to EMI Group chairman Guy Hands totaled more than 10 million pounds ($19.8 million).

In addition to the advance, the Times said the band also wanted a 3 million pound international marketing budget for the album, "In Rainbows," while the reversion of the rights to its previous two albums would have cost EMI 4 million pounds ($7.9 million) in future earnings.

The paper quoted an EMI spokesman as saying, "Radiohead were demanding an extraordinary amount of money and we did not believe that our other artists should have to subsidize their gains."

It also quoted the band's manager, Bryce Edge, as saying, "We were not seeking a big advance payment, or a guaranteed marketing spend as discussions never got that far."

The band's "extremely upset" frontman, Thom Yorke, took to the band's Web site (www.radiohead.com) on Monday to deny that it wanted "a load of cash" from EMI.

"What we wanted was some control over our work and how it was used in the future by them. That seemed reasonable to us, as we cared about it a great deal," Yorke wrote.

He said Hands was not interested. "So, neither were we. We made the sign of the cross and walked away. Sadly."

Radiohead went on to release "In Rainbows," on the Web several months ago, and allowed fans to pay whatever they wanted to download it. Physical versions of the album were released in stores this week.

Directing his anger at Hands, Yorke added: "To be digging up such bull----, or more politely airing yer dirty laundry in public, seems a very strange way for the head of an international record label to be proceeding."

Representatives for EMI in London and New York were not available to comment Tuesday.

Hands' buyout firm Terra Firma Capital Partners agreed to buy EMI in May for 2.4 billion pounds ($4.8 billion). The financier has warned artists they could be dropped if they do not work hard enough for the company.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman)

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