EMI Group is "on track" to achieving its bullish prediction of generating 25% of its revenue from the digital space by 2010, its chairman Eric Nicoli told delegates Saturday (Jan. 21) during the openi

EMI Group is "on track" to achieving its bullish prediction of generating 25% of its revenue from the digital space by 2010, its chairman Eric Nicoli told delegates Saturday (Jan. 21) during the opening session of MidemNet in Cannes.

"There is huge growth potential in digital music, while the physical world will continue to play an important role in coming years," he said.

In recent years, the London-based major has ploughed considerable investment into realizing its ambitions in the online space. That expenditure is beginning to pay off, the company has said recently. For the first half of its financial period, EMI reported last November that digital revenues accounted for some 5.8% or £44.6 million ($77 million) of the group's total revenue pie. In the same period in 2004, digital sales generated only 2.1% of group revenues.

"It's still very early days for digital music and other content -- and the landscape is constantly shifting which makes accurate predictions extremely difficult. But it also makes for a hugely exciting future," an optimistic Nicoli told delegates.

In his speech, Nicoli alluded to the recent vote by French parliament of an amendment introducing a global legal license, which would pave the way for legalization of P2P. The system would allow Internet users to source as unlimited music online, provided they paid an additional monthly fee.

He warned that such a system would damage the fabric of the music industry. "If France continues down this road it could jeopardise the promising growth we're now seeing in the legitimate online market," Nicoli said.

"France has always respected copyright and supported creative industries, so it seems an aberration that the government has taken a first step towards a global licence," Nicoli added.

"I urge the French government to reconsider and reverse these proposals," he said. "Protection of copyright is of utmost importance in any business relationship within the digital arena."

Nicoli's comments came following his keynote address at MidemNet, the technology conference which precedes the annual Midem music trade fair.

Nicoli also used the platform of his speech to call on the industry to present a united front in the face challenges. Furthermore, he suggested that flexibility on downloads pricing created the potential to sell more music.

"There's massive scope for further growth and the extent to which we exploit the opportunity is entirely in our collective hands," he added. "I'm much more motivated by the prospect of competing for share of a growing pie than spending time and money fighting amongst ourselves over a diminishing pie -- and we all know that there's far too much of that going on."

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