Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and George Jones could become corporate country cousins under a proposed merger of music companies announced Monday in London.
Brooks, who records for EMI-owned Capitol Nashville, would join Hill, a Warner Bros. artist,
and Jones, an artist for Time Warner's Asylum imprint, under the umbrella of the newly created company, to be called Warner
The global music company, created by the merger of Time Warner's Warner Music Group and the London-based
EMI Group, would have combined revenues of $8 billion and reduce the number of major music companies from five to four.
on 1999 figures from SoundScan, which tracks record sales in the U.S., the new company would have ranked first last year in
the country market with 31 percent of total album sales, slightly ahead of Seagram's Universal Music Group, which claimed
Sony had 18.1 percent of the country market last year, while BMG had 17.3 percent. Independent labels
accounted for 5.2 percent of country sales.
On Nashville's Music Row, the merger would affect Warner-owned record labels
including Warner Bros., Reprise, Atlantic, Asylum, Giant and Sire.
On the EMI side, the deal would touch EMI's Capitol
Nashville (Brooks' label) and Virgin Nashville rosters. In addition, music publishing firms Warner Chappell Music and EMI
Music, both with Nashville divisions, would become part of the same company.
The merger must be approved by shareholders
of the two companies and by regulatory authorities in the U.S. and Europe.
Two weeks ago, Time Warner announced that
it would merge with Internet company America Online. If it comes to pass, the merger would be good for his company says Pat
Quigley, Capitol Nashville president and chief executive officer.
"You have two things: the power of the two companies
together, both music and publishing, is unprecedented, but when you put AOL in down the road, it helps our current distribution
move into the 21st century. It's not only the product, but it's the distribution, all in one company."