Blur are leading a revolt against the sale of the classic British label which signed The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Coldplay
The band, who are signed to the label, are among the artists who are threatening to withhold future releases if the planned sell-off of Parlophone goes ahead under a directive to Universal Music under the company’s £1.2bn takeover of EMI.
The London Independent reports that the planned sale has unsettled artists on Parlophone's roster, which also includes Kylie Minogue and Tinie Tempah.
"Artists are the only people currently being left out of the conversation, which is unfortunate," Blur’s drummer Dave Rowntree told The Independent. "If the staff at the label are unhappy with the new arrangements they are free to leave, but the artists are not."
Rowntree is backing negotiations through the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), a pop stars' 'trade union', supported by Lily Allen and Radiohead.
"The FAC was formed by musicians who were fed up with the industry taking decisions without considering the impact it would have on those who actually make the music," he said. "The FAC and the Music Managers Forum are looking to engage with Parlophone to see how we can help."
The drummer, who is now a qualified solicitor, has said he once advised the head of EMI how to prevent illegal file-sharing, which labels are blaming on the massive fall in music sales.
"Years later, while the label I grew up working with is being broken up and flogged off, Apple have made a gazillion dollars using the business model I explained," Rowntree said. "I'm left in the completely unsatisfying position of being able to say, 'I told you so'."
Artists earning "steady revenues" such as Pink Floyd, Cliff Richard, Tina Turner, Kate Bush, David Bowie, Duran Duran and Kraftwerk will be part of the great sell off but Universal gets to keep The Beatles catalogue, which is excluded from the Parlophone sale, as well as Katy Perry, Robbie Williams and The Beach Boys.
Beatles producer Sir George Martin, who became Parlophone manager in 1955 when it was known as a comedy label releasing records by The Goons, is also believed to have concerns over the future of the label.