EMI Classics

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EMI Classics
Parent company
Founded1990; 34 years ago (1990)
Defunct2013; 11 years ago (2013)
GenreClassical music
Country of originUnited Kingdom
EMI Classics logo used until 2003

EMI Classics was a record label founded by Thorn EMI in 1990 to reduce the need to create country-specific packaging and catalogues for internationally distributed classical music releases. After Thorn EMI demerged in 1996, its recorded music division became the EMI Music Group.[1] Following the European Commission's approval of the takeover of EMI Music Group by Universal Music Group in September 2012, EMI Classics was listed for divestment.[2] The label was sold to Warner Music Group, which absorbed EMI Classics into Warner Classics in 2013.

Classical recordings were formerly simultaneously released under combinations of Angel, Seraphim, Odeon, Columbia, His Master's Voice, and other labels, in part because competitors own these names in various countries. These were moved under the EMI Classics umbrella to avoid the trademark problems. Prior to this, compact discs distributed globally bore the Angel Records recording angel logo that EMI owned globally. Releases created for distribution in specific countries continued to be distributed under the historical names, with the exception of Columbia, since EMI had sold the Columbia name to Sony Music Entertainment. The red logo harkens back to the Red Seal releases, introduced by EMI predecessor the Gramophone Company in 1902: HMV classical releases were issued with red labels. EMI Classics was also responsible for managing Pye Records' classical recordings acquired by Thorn EMI in 1990.

EMI Classics also included the Virgin Classics label, both of them were formerly managed under The Blue Note Label Group in the U.S. until 2013.

With the sale of EMI Music Group to Universal Music Group in 2012, European regulators forced Universal Music Group to divest itself of EMI Classics, which was operated with other European EMI assets to be divested as the Parlophone Label Group.[3] In February 2013, Universal Music Group sold the Parlophone Label Group, including EMI Classics and Virgin Classics, to Warner Music Group.[4] The European Union approved the deal on May, and Warner Music Group took control of the label on 1 July.[5] It was then announced that the EMI Classics artist roster and catalogue would be absorbed into the Warner Classics label and Virgin Classics would be absorbed into Erato Records.[6][7]



Sir Paul McCartney in concert


Chamber ensembles[edit]

Choirs and vocal ensembles[edit]









  • Christoph Hartmann


Celebrated Indian sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar












Crossover acts[edit]

Catalogue series[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vote solid for Thorn demerger". Independent. 17 August 1996.
  2. ^ "Universal's £1.2bn EMI takeover approved – with conditions". The Guardian. 21 September 2012. Full list of divestments...EMI Classics/Virgin Classics artist and composers
  3. ^ "Parlophone Label Group's Kassler: 'We're effectively a mini major'". News168. 27 March 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Warner to buy the Parlophone Label Group". gramophone.co.uk. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Updated: Warner Music Group's Acquisition of Parlophone Approved by European Commission". Billboard.com. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  6. ^ "EMI Classics and Virgin Classics to join Warners". Classic FM. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  7. ^ [1] Archived 26 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine