Parlophone Records, the only record label smart enough to sign The Beatles, has been sold to Warner Music for £487 million.
After Universal Music bought EMI the company was forced to sell some of EMI’s assets. Parlophone was the ‘sacrificial lamb’.
Warner Music, now owned by Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik, beat bids from American Idol founder Simon Fuller and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell for the label.
The sales does not include The Beatles Parlophone catalogue (Please Please Me to Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’). The Beatles entire catalogue is now controlled by Apple Corps and stays with Universal.
Artists involved in this move include Air, Coldplay, Daft Punk, Danger Mouse, David Guetta, Deep Purple, Duran Duran, Edith Piaf, Gorillaz, Iron Maiden, Itzhak Perlman, Jethro Tull, Kate Bush, Kylie Minogue, Maria Callas, Pet Shop Boys, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Shirley Bassey, Tina Turner and Tinie Tempah.
Warner Music labels include Asylum, Atlantic, East West, Elektra, Fueled By Ramen, Nonesuch, Reprise, Rhino, Roadrunner, Rykodisc, Sire, Warner Bros. and Word, as well as Warner/Chappell Music, one of the world’s leading music publishers, with a catalog of more than one million copyrights worldwide.
Parlophone was EMI’s oldest active label. George Martin was appointed manager of the label in 1955 and recorded and released mainly comedy acts like The Goons and Peter Sellers.
Martin signed The Beatles in 1962 after they had been rejected by Decca Records. Decca didn’t feel The Beatles music was relevant anymore, telling them “guitar groups are on the way out”.
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