Eventbrite lays off 45% of its employees, with the music division severely impacted.
CEO Julia Hartz announced the decision on Wednesday in a company-wide meeting. The massive cut is one of the biggest in the live ticketing industry – an industry struggling to survive amid the coronavirus crisis.
Employees who attended the meeting say Hartz was emotional while delivering the news. Employees were notified after the video call if their job was impacted by the decision. The live ticketing company employs around 1,000 to 1,1000 employees. That means around 500 people will lose their job in this round of Eventbrite layoffs.
One employee who spoke with Protocol said around 90% of the sales team had been let go. That person said that internally, employees are referring to today as ‘Blood Orange Wednesday.’ The meeting lasted less than 10 minutes, and CEO Hartz did not take questions after it was over.
Eventbrite says it will be connecting with every employee to “provide clarity around what these changes mean.” Those meetings will be held as one-on-one video calls and in group meetings, as the company is working remotely. “It was pretty brutal,” quoted one employee. “Everyone just logged on this morning and saw there was an all-hands. There are only so many ways that can go.”
Other Eventbrite teams that saw severe layoffs include the field operations team and the customer success teams. Eventbrite’s outlook wasn’t exactly rosy before the pandemic struck, though. The company seemed to struggle with the integration of its live music ticketing acquisition, Ticketfly.
A source familiar with Eventbrite’s business says virtual events account for less than 10% of the company’s revenue in 2019.
That person didn’t confirm how much of Eventbrite’s revenue comes from virtual events today. “We are committed to taking care of impacted employees during this already difficult time, and in addition to severance, we are providing extended health benefits and dedicated job replacement support,” Eventbrite offered in a statement.
Sadly, the layoff represents another failure for U.S. Government efforts to save jobs. The government is currently attempting to infuse cash into small businesses that agree to keep their payrolls active, though few businesses have been able to secure funds under the ‘Paycheck Protection Program’ (or any other program, for that matter). While Eventbrite doesn’t classify as a small business, it appears that the company had little access to government-backed loans or cash infusions to ride out the pandemic.