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    Coldplay Album Is High Stakes Gamble For EMI

    LONDON (Reuters) - British group Coldplay, whose much delayed album is finally hitting the airwaves, could be the band that makes or breaks music giant EMI.


    "This is the high stakes album of the year for EMI," said Numis Securities analyst Paul Richards of the world's third largest music group.


    EMI Group shares fell 16 percent in February after it blamed delays in releasing key albums for lower than expected profits.So a great deal is riding on the success of "X&Y," the follow-up to Coldplay's breakthrough second album "Rush of Blood to the Head" which sold more than 10 million copies.


    "All eyes will be on the performance of this new album," Richards said. "They are certainly flavor of the month."


    "Speed of Sound," the first single from the new album, was played on BBC Radio Monday, Coldplay are staging an MTV live invite-only gig in London Tuesday, and yet the album is still not being released until June 6.


    Coldplay's perfectionist lead singer Chris Martin, who is married to Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow, admits the pressure of expectation is getting to him.


    Fears of the "Tall Poppy Syndrome" -- critics cutting them down after acclaiming the last album -- abound.


    "When you're playing new songs, you tread a fine line between arrogance and, well, fear. It's a line we tread quite badly," he confessed at a U.S. charity concert in Los Angeles last month.


    Martin called the making of Coldplay's third album "one of the most difficult experiences of my life."


    "Lighten Up" is the message from the music industry to Coldplay, which scrapped many of the songs for the new album last year and went back to the studio, much to the chagrin of record executives.

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