After previously leaving the Capitol Music Group umbrella in 2021 to operate as an independent company, Motown is now officially back with CMG.
The iconic Motown Records is reintegrating under the Capitol Music Group (CMG) umbrella, no longer operating as a standalone company. The shift is additionally accompanied by layoffs within the Motown staff, as Billboard reported this week.
“As Motown returns to the Capitol family, certain positions that had been created when we became a stand-alone label have since become duplicative,” a spokesperson said in a statement to Billboard. “These employees are leaving the company and our People, Inclusion, and Culture department is helping them find new opportunities — either within or outside of UMG.”
Motown Records, first founded by Berry Gordy in Detroit, Michigan in 1958, had first begun operating under CMG’s umbrella in 2014 only to step outside it in the spring of 2021. Fears of layoffs set in amid talk of a potential merger after CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam announced her departure from the company in November of 2022. Habtemariam spearheaded Motown’s shift from New York to Los Angeles and helped seal the deal for Motown’s landmark partnership with Atlanta-based Quality Control, which included artists and groups like Lil Baby, Migos, Lil Yachty, City Girls, and more.
Last week, after a spike in interest and market share for Motown, Quality Control was acquired by HYBE America for $300 million.
The State of Layoffs in Music and Media
Motown Records joins several music and media companies that announced layoffs in the past year. Despite raising its overall market share to 0.97% in 2022, layoffs became inevitable as the company shifted directions. They join a long list as music media, and tech’s economic outlook remains uncertain with Amazon, Google, Spotify, Twitter, SoundCloud, BMI, Showtime, Vox Media, and Disney all among those trimming jobs as a result of the murky market.
As for Motown, its current market share for music releases in the past 18 months grew from 1.18% in 2021 to 1.33% in 2022. Capitol’s overall market share and current share both declined during that period.
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