How the EMIghty Have Fallen

Oh, How the EMIghty Have Fallen:

OK Go, Danger Mouse and Pink Floyd Tussle With Label

By Rachel Bailey |

Poor EMI. First, they received a public lashing over a rumor that they planned to sell the historic Abbey Road Studios. OK Go bested them in the public arena during a spat over allowing the YouTube superstars’ music videos to be embedded in blogs and news items. Then, Brian Burton, AKA: Danger Mouse, squeezed a go-ahead out of the label for the release of his long-sequestered Dark Night of the Soul collaboration with David Lynch and the recently departed Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse. As if that didn’t constitute a sufficient serving of humble pie, the British high court and OK Go have stepped up to dish out a second helping.

A judge in England ruled yesterday that EMI had breached a contract with rock legends Pink Floyd by selling the group’s tracks as singles and ringtones. In 1999, before iTunes and the like made digital downloads big business, the label signed a contract with the band ensuring their music could not be sold in a way that adulterated the original context. However, EMI has been selling tracks individually online and for use in cell phones. They’ve been ordered to cut it out and to pay Pink Floyd’s legal fees of £60,000 (over $90,000 USD).

It seems, too, that EMI’s concession in allowing OK Go’s videos to be embedded in internet publications was not enough to patch up the differences between the band and the label. OK Go is departing to start its own label, Paracadute (Italian for “parachute”), though EMI, which has fallen on hard times, graciously let the group walk away from its contract. “The decision to leave was really them responding to our request and letting us go,” frontman Damian Kulash told Vulture.

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