Another blow has been dealt to EMI as its announced that, after months of speculation, Queen is leaving the fledgling major for Universal in territories outside of the U.S.
Starting on Jan. 1, 2011, Island Records will be in charge of the British Band’s back catalog; the label is planning on reissuing the rock act’s 15 studio albums next year in celebration of Queen’s formation 40 years ago. The first five efforts — “Queen,” “Queen II,” “Sheer Heart Attack,” “A Night at the Opera” and “A Day at the Races” — will get the remaster and re-release treatment in March.
Queen’s albums in the U.S. are handled by Hollywood Records, distributed by Universal.
This comes at a time, too, as a biopic is being developed on late frontman Freddie Mercury, to be played by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. BBC TV is also working on a documentary for release next year.
EMI has experienced similar departures from big-name artists like Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Radiohead within recent years. Financial troubles have been boiling up in the organization since it was bought by private equity firm Terra Firma in 2007.
“We are very excited, after all this time, to be embarking on a new phase of our career — with a new record company, with new ideas, and new dreams,” said Queen guitarist Brian May in a statement.