Warner Music Group will shed 10% of its workforce in a round of layoffs expected to impact around 600 people.
An SEC filing reveals that the majority of these job losses will come from its corporate and media divisions. WMG is also looking to offload ownership in the entertainment websites, Uproxx and HipHopDX. In an internal memo, CEO Robert Kyncl told employees that the move was a “pivotal moment in the evolution” of WMG. Kyncl says now is a “smart time to change, innovate, and lead.”
WMG will incur around $140 million in pre-tax charges as a result of the cuts—mostly through severance payments and other termination costs. This is WMG’s second round of layoffs in less than a year, as 270 employees were laid off in March 2023. During that round of layoffs, Kyncl said the company had to make “hard choices in order to evolve.”
This newest round of layoffs are part of a cost-savings plan expected to lower WMG costs by $200 million by September 2025. The news of layoffs comes immediately on the heels of an impressive financial report, which saw WMG revenue grow a record 11% in the final quarter of 2023 with a net income of $193 million.
In January 2024, Robert Kyncl wrote in a memo that he wants to augment WMG’s services to the ‘middle class of artists’ and scale up the company’s publishing administration business. “We are building scaled and highly effective distribution infrastructure so that we can radically and efficiently grow the large ‘middle class’ of artists while our frontline labels can remain focused on artists with the highest potential,” that memo reads.
Other layoffs in the music industry throughout 2023 and 2024 include Downtown Music Holdings, BMG, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, LiveOne, and Bandcamp. Tech companies outside of the music industry are faring even worse, with an estimated 33,800 total employees impacted in 2024 alone. Layoffs.fyi estimates that across the tech sector, more than 262,000 people lost their jobs in 2023 and that shows no sign of abating throughout 2024 as companies tighten their belts.