EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli has outlined the record company's vision for a DRM-free music future - at a press conference held at 1pm today with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. You can read the full transcript below...
Eric Nicoli [EN]: "Ladies and Gentlemen good afternoon. Welcome to EMI's staff canteen. It doesn't always look like this. We've dressed it up a bit for this special occasion, and I've never before seen people hanging from the rafters. Not entirely sure that those balconies have been stress-tested for that many people. [laughter]
EN: "I'm delighted that you've been able to join us here for an important and exciting announcement - an initiative that represents a major step in our quest to provide consumers with the best possible digital music experience. And it comes at a very important time for our industry, which has faced massive challenges and undergone dramatic changes in the past few years.
EN: "We were acutely aware that the invitations were issued on April Fool's Day. That was, I'm afraid, unavoidable. And we're aware that the invitations have provoke considerable speculation over the last 24 hours. We are, of course, a company well used to dealing with speculation. And normally we don't comment on it, but clearly we wouldn't have got you over here just to tell you that we have no comment to make. I know you're all eager to know what we're going to be announcing, but I'm going to ask you to be patient for just a bit longer.
Live music and more
EN: "We felt that we couldn't invite you to EMI without treating you to some live music. Indeed it would have been rude not to do so. So before we get to the announcement we're going to hear a couple of tracks from one of EMI's most exciting bands. Then the stage will be cleared and we will show you just 90 seconds of a video with some new music from the Chemical Brothers, and then we'll get to the main business of the day.
EN: "So now I want to introduce the band, which represents the latest project from the peerless Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz fame; which also features Paul Simonon, bassist from The Clash; former Verve guitarist Simon Tong; and Afro-beat pioneer and Africa 70 drummer Tony Allen.
EN: "This is an extraordinary live band. It's won rave reviews, not least for their gig on Saturday night at the much-loved Hammersmith Palais. It was, sadly, one of the last performances at that venue before it gets knocked down. Clearly the planners of Hammersmith feel they need more over-priced flats and fewer live-music venues, which is tragic.
EN: "Incidentally when we took Damon through what we're about to announce, he gave us a typically eloquent reaction. Never known to use two words when one will do, Damon actually did use two - and the second was 'brilliant'. You can decide for yourselves what the first one was, but it wasn't 'jolly'.
EN: "He certainly boosted my confidence that we were doing the right thing. So without further ado, please welcome the guys onstage to perform two tracks from The Good, The Bad & The Queen."
[The Good, The Bad & The Queen are now performing live]
EN: "How to clear a set in 90 seconds. Damon, Paul, Simon, Tony and, indeed the girls in the string section, thank you very much. Can we hear it one more time for the band. Thank you. [applause] And I think a timely reminder of the awesome talent that populates the EMI labels worldwide.
EMI embraces change
EN: "As those of you who've followed Damon's career will know, he has shown an unrivalled ability to evolve and to explore new ground, to reinvent and to push creative boundaries.