Days after returning Absolute Label Services to its founders about 17 months after acquiring the company, Utopia Music has announced yet another layoff round.
Switzerland-based Utopia Music revealed its newest personnel reduction in an internally circulated memo and confirmed the less-than-ideal development to Digital Music News. Having embarked on a much-publicized buying spree in 2021 and 2022, Utopia has to this point in 2023 sold off several of these same businesses, among them Sentric Music Group, ROSTR, and the aforementioned Absolute.
Accompanying the divestitures – while ROSTR’s founders also reassumed ownership, Utopia sold Sentric to Paris-headquartered Believe, it’s worth highlighting – were multiple layoffs. Prior to today’s headcount cutback, for instance, mid-April saw the troubled music fintech part with about 15 percent of its global workforce.
Per the mentioned memo (which founder Mattias Hjelmstedt penned) and statement, however, Utopia’s latest layoffs have resulted from the closure of two research and development offices.
“We continue to run R&D from our main tech hub, Utopia R&D Stockholm in Sweden, where our core engineers and platform technology originate from,” a Utopia spokesperson told us. “As part of this consolidation, we will close down two R&D entities, Utopia UK (R&D) Ltd, and Utopia R&D Tech Finland Oy.
“There are no changes to our other 10 (employing) entities, and we will continue to develop our current product offering, with more services being launched. Physical distribution remains a priority area and we will continue to deliver world-class services to our large music industry customer base,” the representative finished.
At the time of this piece’s writing, none of the impacted professionals appeared to have commented publicly on the news via LinkedIn posts, and it was unclear precisely how many team members had been affected. But Hjelmstedt’s memo, besides emphasizing that “impacted employees will of course be considered for any future openings,” touched upon the operational specifics of Utopia at present.
“I’m convinced that we are fully equipped to continue delivering superior services to the music industry through our current customer offerings; Distribution, Radio Monitoring, TrackNClaim, Enhance & Discover, HeartBeat, and Accelerate,” reads the relevant portion of the text. “While not taken lightly, consolidating our R&D entities is a necessary step to realize our long-term vision of Fair Pay for Every Play as it will enable us to more efficiently deliver new products and improve our existing services.”
Utopia retooled ForTunes (which it’s owned since December of 2021) into the noted HeartBeat earlier this month. A “companion app for the music industry,” according to higher-ups, HeartBeat has already partnered with customer relationship management platform Laylo.