Warner Music Group has finalized the integration of Parlophone’s roster into its U.S. label structure following the acquisition of the record imprint from Universal Music Group for £487 million (about $765 million) earlier this year, Billboard has learned. Parlophone will remain a frontline label in other international territories.
Under the new structure, Warner Bros. Records will inherit the majority of the Parlophone roster, including new releases from Damon Albarn, Kylie Minogue, Lily Allen, Bat For Lashes, Eliza Doolittle, Conor Maynard, Gabrielle Aplin, among others, and catalog titles from Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Blur, Gorillaz, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Supergrass and Sinead O’Connor. Atlantic Records will distribute new releases from three additional artists – Coldplay, Tinie Tempah and, through dance imprint Big Beat, David Guetta.
“We're extremely proud that Parlophone’s great diversity of incredible artists are part of the Warner Music family,” a Warner Music spokesperson told Billboard in a statement. “As you’d expect, we’ve been taking a very thoughtful approach to which U.S. label is partnered with each act, working closely with the artists and their management.”
The integration of Parlophone acts onto the Warner Bros. and Atlantic rosters started quietly rolling out this fall with a new album from Eliza Doolittle and much-blogged about single from Lily Allen released through Warner Bros., and David Guetta doing press on behalf of Big Beat to premiere a new single and music video with the United Nations.
Warner Bros. Records, which inherits the majority of the Parlophone roster, is closing a tumultuous 12 months that saw the departure of president-CEO Todd Moscowitz last December, followed six months later by the exit of co-president Livia Tortella in June. Warner/Chappell Music chairman Cameron Strang has been running the label for the past year, in addition to oversight of Rhino and Warner/Chappell. Though the label had No. 1 albums from superstar acts like Josh Groban, Michael Buble and Avenged Sevenfold in 2013, it failed to generate many pop hits – ranking No. 7 on Billboard’s year-end tally of Hot 100 labels, and No. 9 on Billboard 200 labels. Having new music from Lily Allen, Kylie Minogue and a just-announced solo project Damon Albarn should help keep the label competitive in the first half of 2014.
Atlantic is capping off a successful 2013 that saw Bruno Mars moving enough copies of sophomore set “Unorthodox Jukebox” to become the year’s fourth-biggest seller, with additional hits from Hunter Hayes, Wale, Kid Rock, TGT, Skillet, Janelle Monae and K. Michelle. Unlike Warner Bros., home to Green Day, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Metallica, Atlantic doesn’t have a signature rock band, which it gains with the addition of Coldplay.
Warner’s acquisition of Parlophone’s catalog was finalized in May after approval from the European Commission, has already buoyed the company’s earnings. In its most recent quarter, ending Sept. 30, the Warner Music group posted a $57 million net loss on revenue of $764 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30. That represented an increase of 4.5% from $731 million in revenue during the corresponding quarter of the prior year, thanks largely to the addition of Parlophone Records. Without the addition of Parlophone Records in the fourth quarter, revenue would have been about $704 million, which represents a 3.7% decline.
Warner Music obtained Parlophone, which was formerly part of EMI, from Universal Music Group after the European Union made its approval of UMG's acquistion of EMI contingent upon the divestment of the label among other conditions.
Additional reporting by Ed Christman