About one week after ending its pursuit of a more than billion-dollar sale, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) has announced a round of layoffs.
Team members were just recently informed of the unfortunate news via email, though at the time of this piece’s writing, none of the affected professionals appeared to have commented publicly on the matter. Similarly, the performance rights organization itself hasn’t yet addressed the subject with a statement on its website.
However, the message that BMI president and CEO Mike O’Neill sent to employees cites the current “uncertain economic times” and a desire to stay ahead of the competitive curve as factors that contributed to the decision. Accounting also for open positions that will remain unfilled, the move will reportedly reach approximately 10 percent of the entity’s workforce.
“We learned some important lessons during the pandemic about how we could operate more effectively,” reads part of the email that the ostensibly non-profit BMI sent to staff. “Unlike many other companies, we made a concerted effort to maintain headcount as COVID took hold, the right decision for us at that time. As we emerged from the pandemic, it became clear that there were areas in our workforce that needed adjustment.”
According to Billboard, two of the roughly 30 individuals impacted by the development are BMG veteran Alex Flores (who joined BMI as SVP of creative four years ago) and former Warner Chappell exec Ann Sweeney (who signed on with BMI as SVP of international and global policy in early 2015).
As mentioned, it doesn’t look as though any of the now-former BMI employees have broached the topic publicly, but Sweeney’s LinkedIn profile has been updated to reflect the change.
Besides following BMI’s failed (Goldman Sachs-assisted) effort to find a buyer, the cutbacks arrive on the heels of a record 2021 fiscal year for the PRO.
BMI specifically disclosed north of $1 billion in domestic revenue (and some $1.41 billion in total income) for the first time, and distributions for the 12-month period were said to have hiked by $102 million YoY to crack $1.34 billion. “In a year marked by incredible challenges, the power of music is stronger than ever,” O’Neill said upon revealing the financials. “BMI was once again able to demonstrate record growth, both in revenue and with the largest royalty distributions in our history.”
For reference, ASCAP (which, like BMI, is subject to a consent decree) identified $1.34 billion in 2021 revenue, and the Radio Music License Committee in June named both PROs in a petition.