Major Layoffs at Proper—Undergoing Major Restructuring After Rebrand

Proper Music Group layoffs
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Proper Music Group layoffs
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Photo Credit: Proper

Utopia Music rebranded to Proper Group AG, a name taken from its core music distribution business. But the new company is undergoing some major restructuring changes that will see the current CEO step aside. Here’s the latest.

The Switzerland-based Proper Group AG is in the process of another round of layoffs, saying “As technology rapidly evolves in the music industry, Proper Group is strategically repositioning itself to better serve its partners and capitalize on emerging market trends and demands.”

As part of this restructuring effort, the current interim CEO Michael Stebler—who took over after Co-Founder and former CEO Mattias Hjelmstedt—departed Utopia Music. Proper says Stebler’s job was to oversee the massive restructuring effort and now that the job is concluding—his role with the company is complete.

Stebler will be replaced by a tag-team of CEOs including Drew Hill and potentially Alain Couttolenc. Couttolenc briefly served as Proper Group’s CEO last year and is a candidate to head up the company’s tech division. Meanwhile, Hill will oversee the company’s distribution division.

As part of the restructuring, Proper will close most of its non-UK operations including significant job cuts in Sweden and other European subsidiaries—marking around a 30% cut to its full-time staff of 250 people. Proper will focus on four key business areas including distribution, payments, royalty processing, and music data.

Proper Music will prioritize its UK distribution businesses including Proper Music Distribution and Utopia Distribution services as they are considered essential for the physical music ecosystem. Proper Music aims to achieve break-even in 2025—which has been a challenge. Proper Group execs believe this new strategy is the only realistic path forward for the company.

While Proper Group is repositioning itself to better serve its partners and capitalize on emerging market trends, it says it will manage the process of downsizing better than its previous UK R&D downsizing efforts.