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EMI Group Plc Chairman's Statement - 2004 Annual General Meeting
By Mi2N
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"On a global basis, the recorded music market has shown encouraging trends in the first few months of our financial year. The US market has now enjoyed ten consecutive months of growth and the next two largest markets, Japan and the UK, have also seen positive trends. The markets of Continental Europe, however, remain difficult. Digital music continues to develop, with the recent successful launch of new legitimate services in several countries.

"In our recorded music division, EMI Music, the implementation of both the outsourcing of manufacturing in Continental Europe and the US and the restructuring of selected labels is on schedule.

"Our release schedule so far has featured major new albums from the Beastie Boys and Lenny Kravitz. During this financial year, we have also seen good ongoing sales worldwide from a number of artists including Utada Hikaru and Norah Jones. In addition, Joss Stone's Soul Sessions and Keith Urban's Golden Road have each surpassed two million units in sales and Yellowcard's Ocean Avenue has reached more than one million. Our release schedule for the remainder of the year is strong, particularly in the second half, with new releases from artists including Chemical Brothers, Chingy, Coldplay, Glay, Gorillaz, Helmut Lotti, Joss Stone, The Thrills, Keith Urban and Robbie Williams.

"In this financial year EMI Music Publishing has continued to enjoy strong chart positions especially in the US, UK, Germany and France, with releases from a range of songwriters including Jamie Cullum, Kelis, Alicia Keys, Scissor Sisters, Usher and Mario Winans. We have finalised new synchronisation licences with many companies including American Express, Target and Jaguar. In April, we also completed our purchase of the final 20 percent stake in Jobete, the Motown song catalogue.

"As we highlighted in May, given the phasing of both our recorded music release schedule and the savings from our restructuring programme, we expect the second half to account for a higher proportion of sales and profits than it has in prior years. With this strong release schedule and the progress we are making in both of our businesses, we remain confident that we will achieve our financial targets for the full year."

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