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|Parent company|| EMI (1990–2012)|
Parlophone Label Group
Warner Music Group
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
EMI Classics was a record label founded by EMI in 1990 in order to reduce the need to create country-specific packaging and catalogs for internationally distributed classical music releases. Following the European Commission's approval of the takeover of EMI Group by Universal Music in September 2012, EMI Classics was listed for divestment.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 also included the Virgin Classics label.
With the sale of EMI to Universal Music Group in 2012, European regulators forced Universal Music to divest itself of EMI Classics, which was operated with other European EMI assets to be divested as the Parlophone Label Group.In February 2013, Universal Music sold the Parlophone Label Group, including EMI Classics and Virgin Classics, to Warner Music Group. The European Union approved the deal on May 2013, and WMG took control of the label on 1 July 2013. 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.