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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British rock band Coldplay will release its new album through EMI Group this summer, the band's manager was quoted as saying on Thursday, a month after he threatened to withhold the record in protest of major cost-cutting by the beleaguered London label's new owners.
The album will be a key test for private-equity investor Guy Hands, who led a 3.2 billion pound ($6.25 billion) buyout of EMI last year. He quickly unnerved musicians by looking for ways to trim the fat in an industry known for its wanton excess and loss-making deals.
Hands' strategy includes laying off up to a third of EMI's 6,000 employees, centralizing marketing, dumping underachieving artists and focusing on discovering new talent.
Among his critics was Dave Holmes, the Los Angeles-based manager of Coldplay, one of the biggest acts on EMI. He told the Times of London last month that Coldplay was "in no hurry" to deliver its next album, adding, "Why would you want to release an album with a record company in the midst of massive lay-offs? Coldplay have a lot of options."
But Billboard.com quoted him on Thursday as saying that the as-yet-untitled project, the group's fourth, would come out in early summer, followed by a tour of North America and Europe.
Holmes appeared to back away from his earlier comments by saying "we kind of steered clear" of the outrage that greeted Hands' restructuring plans.
As for Coldplay's album, he told Billboard.com: "We've got a great plan in place."
An official at Holmes' Los Angeles-based company said he was in London, and not immediately available for further comment. Representatives for EMI did not return messages seeking comment.
EMI is the smallest of the four major labels in North America, the world's largest music market, but does a bit better internationally. Its roster also includes the Rolling Stones, who have made noises about jumping ship, Kylie Minogue, and Lily Allen.
Two of its key acts left for greener pastures last year: Paul McCartney launched a venture with Starbucks Corp, and rock band Radiohead initially sold its new album on the Web, allowing downloaders to name their own price.
Reporting by Dean Goodman