EMI in Canada has expanded its deal with luxury hotel chain Fairmont, opening a branded music download store for North American customers of Fairmont resorts. EMI first announced the partnership with Fairmont in September 2007: it included EMI music preloaded into digital music players within Fairmont’s fitness clubs and access to EMI music on CD or download via Fairmont’s President’s Club. This week’s announcement includes an “online music boutique” at, with a 15% discount available to any member of the Fairmont President’s Club. EMI hints that “music related experiences” from artists might soon be available, with one of its recording artists Patrick Watson having played an exclusive gig to Fairmont guests at the Plaza hotel in New York earlier this week.The announcement is the latest in a series of pretty leftfield deals coming from EMI in North America. Last month EMI announced a partnership with Pollard Banknote to create music-themed scratch-off lottery games. Players can win either cash or prizes such as album downloads and ring tones, which will be redeemed by an EMI-operated website. EMI gets the full wholesale cost of the downloads while Pollard gets a younger demographic to buy its scratchcards; which is kind of a win-win depending on your ethics.Then came a prepaid Visa Card programme with MYPLASH, offering artist-themed cards to consumers that are non-credit card carrying teens, calling it a ‘public badge of honor for fans’. Sold in supermarkets, the cards also offer an awards scheme that lets cardholders redeem their points for merchandise, cheap downloads and other EMI promotions.It’s tempting to say EMI has lost the plot a bit with these seemingly low-rent schemes: hawking artists around posh hotels and flogging scratchcards to kids. Lest we forget EMI was the first major to go DRM free, and to experiment with the innovative iTunes pass with Depeche Mode. We’re all for labels embracing business opportunities: the more deals that come from the majors the better. But does EMI really believe these are the hot new models of the future?

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