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Eric Nicoli has been chairman of EMI Group, the worlds largest publicly traded music company, since July 1999. During a period of unprecedented change in the music industry, he is overseeing the transformation of a company whose origins date back more than a century into one of the most progressive music companies in the digital age. Nicoli first joined the EMI Group board as a non-executive director in July 1993 and became an executive director in May 1999 when he joined the company as chairman-designate.
Under Nicolis leadership, EMI is developing a range of innovative digital business models designed to connect fans with its artists past and present including the Beatles, Coldplay, Gorillaz, Norah Jones, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, Queen, Joss Stone, KT Tunstall, Keith Urban, and the work of songwriters such as James Blunt, Alicia Keyes, Arctic Monkeys, Pharrell, Jay-Z, and Kanye West. The company has led the market in bringing its music a global roster of some of the worlds hottest acts and a rich, storied catalogue to fans in a rapidly growing number of digital formats. Its track record of digital achievements ranges from EMIs 1999 release of the worlds first-ever digital album available for download with David Bowie's Hours to Coldplay's X&Y being confirmed as the biggest selling digital album in the world last year.
With its development of an array of new music products ranging from ring back tunes for mobile phones to deluxe digital album bundles featuring fan-generated content as well as hundreds of new distribution partners around the world, EMI is delivering significant and sharply growing new revenue streams from digital music. In EMI Groups fiscal year ended March 2006, the companys digital revenues were up 135% from the prior year, and for the first three months of this fiscal year, digital revenues more than doubled. EMI continues to experiment with the development of a growing range of new business models via agreements with companies such as legal peer-to-peer services QTrax, Mashboxx, and GNAB, and with Rhythm New Media to trial advertising-supported videos on mobile phones. EMIs Music Publishing division the worlds largest music publisher also recently entered into a precedent-setting deal with Skype.
In addition to his responsibilities at EMI, in 2005 Nicoli became co-chair of BASCAP (Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy), an initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce and a global, multiindustry coalition formed to combat the theft of intellectual property. Since June 2001, Nicoli has also been non-executive chairman of The Tussauds Group, Britain's largest operator of theme parks and city centre attractions, and from March 2001 to February 2004 he was non-executive chairman of HMV Group plc. Before joining EMI, Nicoli was group CEO and board member of United Biscuits, the major international food group.
Nicoli holds a degree in physics from Kings College, London. In June 2006, he was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to the music industry.