Friday, January 18, 2008

It's Hypocrisy Gone Mad

In the news here in recent days has been the story of EMI, the music company, and how many of its artists, specifically Robbie Williams and Coldplay, are having hissy fits because of proposed job cuts and cost cutting exercises.

My research tells me that EMI, which posted a loss of £260 million last year, was bought by a Private Equity firm called Terra Firma. The firm is now in the process of restructuring and regrouping to try and start making some money. That's what private companies with shareholders usually attempt to do so it shouldn't come as a big surprise to anyone.

Mr Williams is apparently thinking of going on strike, perhaps not recording his next album, because he's unhappy at news of around 2000 job cuts at EMI. I've also read stories about the Rolling Stones leaving EMI after 20 odd years and that they will be at least the fourth band to express their unhappiness.

You know what? I find the behaviour of these artistes quite sickening. They seem to have been more than happy to sign massive contracts and reap the rewards of their undoubted talent and commercial success. True enough Chris Martin, the Coldplay geezer, does seem to be one of the few celebs with a semblance of a conscience.

But Robbie Williams signed an £80 million contract with EMI in 2002 to record six albums. Try as I might I can't think of him as a chap that's really concerned with the welfare of EMI's soon to be made redundant workforce, particularly as he shunned those Take That boys so harshly when they asked him to come back.

To be fair, a quick google search does seem to indicate that he does a bit of charity work. I found references to him working in a soup kitchen on Christmas Eve amongst other bits and pieces. But we, the general public, never really know if these stars do their charity work because they really care or because their advisors have told them that it would be good PR for them.

Then again I'm not sure if caring and good PR are mutually exclusive. My mind often says that if it's one thing it can't be the other but charity work is charity work, perhaps if it helps the celebrity get some publicity that doesn't matter as long as the charity gets something in return.

I must confess here that I feel as if my head is spinning somewhat. What started off as a semi serious post about EMI and "stars" going on strike has got me thinking in all sorts of directions about these rich people doing their charitable acts. One of the other relevant points is that we probably wouldn't know about any of the people who do lots of charity work but who don't brag about it. Isn't that the mad thing?

Back to EMI though. Can someone with a contract for £80 million really be concerned about the welfare of the other people at his record company? Should these superstars have hissy fits and go on strike when they're earning these super salaries?

I say no. What say you?


Damith-TS said...

My question is why would anyone give Robbie a contract. Let alone a 6 year contract !!

Most of the artist to their charity work for PR. Only true people are guys like Bono etc.

Robbie has much right to go on strike as his singing capabilities. 0%

Anonymous said...

i think that companies should be answerable to their shareholders, but not only their shareholders.

Robbie is clearly bored. He has 7 houses, 12 sports cars, 6 model girl friends, a coke habit that has torn through one nasal passage.. so he might as well get stuck into some drama or other... or face flat lining with boredom.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Damith - I actually think he's done some half decent things, I think Angels is actually one of the best pop songs of all time, although I know that was mostly down to Guy Chambers. But, I suppose he's given a massive contract purely because EMI thought they'd make a decent profit from it, which doesn't necessarily reflect his musical talent.

Anon - "6 model girlfriends" Are those the little miniature ones?

Damith-TS said...

RD>Could well be, but yea Angels was a decent song, Ill give you that much. But I think he's way way way past his best.