EMI Defies Fate as Predicted on Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Yanqui U.X.O., Bought Out By Terra Firma for $4.7 Billion; Sorry Warner Music Group

In my future fantasy world, I'm the professor of an advanced ethnomusicology course. After spending a considerable amount of the semester wading though The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and Frank Zappa, we finally get to the part in the course where I'm something of an expert: post-rock — a genre typified by sometimes large music ensembles and often vocal-less, extended-length pieces, with instrumentation typified more so by European classical than by American rock 'n' roll.

I spend more time explaining how Tortoise evoke a sense of place — in this case, Chicago — with their mix of jazz and vocal-less, well, umm, post-rock. Either way, an entire class period is consumed with the playing of, first, "Djed" from Tortoise's Millions Now Living Will Never Die and second, "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls," from Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Yanqui U.X.O. With the latter, I discuss how GY!BE evoke strong anti-government and protest sentiments with their crescendo-laden jams and field-recorded samples, not to mention their album artwork.

And so, just prior to playing the entire 20 minutes-plus "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls," I show the class the back cover album art from Yanqui U.X.O, showcasing the major record labels' ties — through monetary contributions — to the military industrial complex (click the image above to see more, or buy the album).

In 2002, things were a bit different, the state of the music industry slightly less bleak. The majors consisted of Vivendi-Universal, Sony, BMG (currently one entity known as Sony BMG), AOL-Time Warner (now, just Warner Music Group), and EMI.

GY!BE, subversive as they were/are, chose to add EMI to the long list of AOL-Time Warner labels. They have since apologized for their oversight, stating that at the time they printed the album, Warner was in the process of acquiring EMI. And to Godspeed's credit, Warner was indeed in the process of acquiring EMI. Some might have predicted a Sony and BMG merger, but what we have all really been waiting for half a decade is for this damn EMI and Warner Music Group merger. Well, I don't think that's going to happen.

Announced Monday, private equity group Terra Firma purchased EMI for $4.7 billion. Apparently this equity group did something Warner Music Group didn't do, which is: "Terra Firma's offer is the most attractive proposal received and delivers cash now, without regulatory uncertainty and with the minimum of operational risk to the company," says EMI Chairman John Gildersleeve.

Terra Firma's CEO said the following of the purchase: " Terra Firma's objective is to build on EMI's current position as one of the world's leading music companies and accelerate the development of its digital and online strategy to fully exploit this long-term growth opportunity."

Did you catch the joke about "long-term growth opportunity?" Well, anyway, none of that trust-busting bullshit; the deal is legit, just gotta show up with the cash. Meanwhile, The Financial Times reports that Warner is already in talks with Terra Firma and other private equity groups about acquiring the recorded music division of EMI once the sale is complete (and rumor has it they are still considering raising their bid), and another equity firm, One Equity Partners, is also expected to make a bid. EMI's gotta be blushing by now.

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