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EMI banking on Coldplay success

By CNN's Malika Kapur

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Coldplay's new album "X&Y" has been released, and it is already being spoken of as one of the biggest albums of the year.

And it is not just the band's fans who are hoping it is a success -- strong sales of this new album will be music to EMI's ears.

It took Coldplay 18 months to make its third album, and its release came after a three-month delay.

But was the album worth waiting for?

Ben Jones, of Virgin Radio, said: "It's definitely worth the wait. It's case of record companies going: 'Ah, where is it?' But to us the fans, and to radio stations, there is no delay. It's fantastic."

Was it worth it for EMI? Well that depends how you look at it.

Given Coldplay's track record -- 20 million records sold worldwide -- EMI has got good reason to hold out for their next set of hits.

But the delay managed to do some damage: It led to a 13 percent fall in EMI's annual profits, a profit warning in February, and a sharp drop in its share price.

This was a setback for investors, but not for Coldplay.

Lead singer Chris Martin recently told Reuters: "I don't really care about EMI. I'm not concerned about that. I think shareholders are the greatest evil of this modern world."

Teresa Wise, of Accenture, said: "The profit warning clearly did take people by surprise. The market seems to have settled, and provided Coldplay now delivers, and EMI capitalizes on the digital music revolution, it should not have a long term effect on EMI's success."

Increasingly, the fortunes of music labels are tied to the success or failure of one or two huge names on the roster.

For Warner music, it's Madonna. For Universal Music, it's U2. For EMI, it's Coldplay and Robbie Williams.

Robbie Williams once said: "I'm rich, beyond my wildest dreams!"

He was responsible for the best-selling album during EMI's last financial year -- selling 6 million records. EMI is no doubt hoping "X&Y" beats that.

Ben Jones said: "I think they're sitting and going 'phew,' because you never know what a band is up to when they go to their studios to write their music.

"And Coldplay have already proven themselves. They have put out two albums that were multi-million sellers, and they are looking for 10 million with this CD, and I think they're going to get it."

But their competition is stiff. Coldplay's "Speed of Sound" lost the top singles spot to the Crazy Frog its first two weeks in the UK charts.


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