Major Layoffs Ahead at Universal Music Group as ‘Strategic Organizational Redesign’ Looms

Universal Music Group layoffs
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Universal Music Group layoffs
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Photo Credit: Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group plans to cut $271 million in jobs with an ‘organizational redesign,’ the exact numbers of which have not been disclosed.

Universal Music Group (UMG) revealed in its fourth-quarter earnings call today (February 28) that the company plans to save over $270 million per year by the end of 2026 with an “organizational redesign” that will see significant job cuts. The exact number of employees affected has not been disclosed, but the company has hinted at the resulting layoffs for months.

UMG stated that the “strategic organizational redesign” would result in an annual savings of 250 million euros ($271 million) by 2026, with a first phase of 75 million euros ($81.3 million) this year, and 125 million euros ($135.5 million) in 2025.

“[The] plan is designed to achieve efficiencies in targeted cost areas while strengthening labels’ capabilities to deepen artist and fan connections,” said UMG, with the first phase involving a “general headcount reduction,” while the second phase (beginning in 2025) will be “a combination of further ex-US headcount reduction and other operational efficiencies.”

“We’re creating the blueprint to the music company and the labels of the future,” said Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge, noting that labels will have “even greater flexibility and speed” in supporting their artists, while accessing “our highest performing internal teams and resources to bring artists to even higher levels of success.”

“[The redesign] carefully preserves what we’re best at: creative A&R, marketing independence, unique label brand identities,” and an entrepreneurial and competitive spirit, Grainge explained. Those boons will “generate more impactful support for promotion, distribution, audience monetization, D2C, e-commerce, and other areas.”

Meanwhile, as layoffs at UMG have been hinted at for months, since the company’s third-quarter earnings call in October, in fiscal year 2023, UMG earned a net profit of 1.26 billion euros ($1.37 billion) with full-year revenues of 11.11 billion euros ($12 billion).

But staffers unsure of their future at the company are not alone, as Warner Music Group (WMG) recently announced both its best quarter in history and the laying off of 10% of its staff, or 600-some people. Other music and media companies in the midst of significant layoffs include SiriusXM, Amazon Music, TikTok Music, Discord, Meta, YouTube, Tidal, Spotify, and Atlantic Music Group, to name a few.