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Warner Music Group Announces Staff Layoffs Amid New Emphasis on Tech, Artist Development

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
New CEO Robert Kyncl referred to the decision as part of the path toward evolving the company for the future rather than simply cost-cutting.

This week, Warner Music Group announced new layoffs covering about 270 positions (approximately 4% of its global workforce) as part of an ongoing campaign of company evolution, new CEO Robert Kyncl confirmed to staff members in an email. The memo notes that in order for the company to take advantage of the biggest opportunities ahead, hard choices were going to be necessary.

Kyncl was announced as the new CEO last September to replace Steve Cooper, who was with the company for 11 years. Kyncl’s background is primarily centered on bridging technology and entertainment. He shared in the memo that the decision was one way to help reorganize and prepare for a quick-paced business climate alongside an increased emphasis on technology and “artist and songwriter development.”

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“I want to be clear that this is not a blanket cost-cutting exercise. Every decision has been made thoughtfully by our operators around the world, who considered the specific needs, skills, and priorities of each label, division, and territory in order to set us up for long-term success. The leader of your division will either be holding a town hall or sending an email to explain more about this path forward, ” Kyncl wrote.

WMG went public in 2020 after being acquired by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries and has become the world’s third-largest music company. Its corporate umbrella currently includes legacy labels like Atlantic, Warner, 300-Elektra, and Parlophone.

“In my discussions with our leaders across the company, many of them came to the same conclusion – that to take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us, we need to make some hard choices in order to evolve,” Kyncl continued. “Consistent with this direction, we’ve made the tough decision to reduce our global team by approximately 270 people, or about 4%. At the same time, we’re reallocating resources towards new skills for artist and songwriter development and new tech initiatives. We’re also reducing discretionary spending and open positions to provide us with additional flexibility for our future.”

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