Atlantic Music Group Announces Two Dozen Layoffs

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As expected, Atlantic Music Group announced on Monday that it will be laying off around two dozen people, with the majority coming from the radio and video departments.

In an internal memo to the company’s staff obtained by Variety, chairman-CEO Julie Greenwald said Atlantic will be “bringing on new and additional skill sets in social media, content creation, community building and audience insights” in an effort to “dial up our fan focus and help artists tell their stories in ways that resonate.”

The move reflects similar ones at the major labels recently, as they recalibrate to meet the leveling-off of streaming growth. However, Greenwald, who was named chairman-CEO of the Atlantic Music Group — which includes the Atlantic and 300-Elektra labels groups and multiple subsidiaries — in 2022, stressed in the memo that the company will be hiring “ambidextrous” staffers capable of performing multiple roles. She also emphasized emphatically that the move will not see the company’s “labels being reduced or merged into one another. I can tell you: this is not that, she wrote, presumably referencing Universal’s recent move to consolidate multiple formerly freestanding labels under the leadership of the Interscope and Republic label groups.

The news does not come as a surprise, as it had been noted earlier on Monday by Hits and comes three weeks after Warner Music Group CEO Robert Kyncl announced that WMG would be cutting its staff by 10% or 600 employees (many of which will come from units to be sold, such as media outlets HipHopDX and Uproxx, as part of the above-mentioned recalibration.

Greenwald’s note to staff follows in full:

Dear Atlantic, Elektra and 300,

Two weeks ago, during the all hands call you heard Robert and Max talk about the evolution of our music company. They tasked us last year to examine our staffing and ask the tough question, how do we achieve maximum impact for our artists in this ever changing landscape?

As hard as it is to say goodbye to our friends and valued colleagues, it is critical that we keep retooling the company and add new resources and skill sets to our business units. I have now been at Atlantic for 20 years. The company has grown and evolved tremendously, because we have not been afraid to implement change and add new marketers, new A & R, new data and research and even new labels. Always evolving but with a consistent North Star : sign the best musicians and commit to the hardest work of building real careers through true artist development.

Our artists today need more support from us than ever – in a world that’s getting noisier, faster, and more fiercely competitive. We have to do more, but at the same time, our approach has to be authentic, bold, and bespoke to individual artists. We can’t impact culture if we don’t have the right mix of people who live that culture. That’s why we need dedicated teams of multi-talented, ambidextrous people – our ‘SWAT teams’ – who encircle the artist and do everything possible to help achieve their full potential.  

The changes we’re making today are primarily happening in our radio and video teams. We’ll preserve our industry-leading position in those areas, while bringing on new and additional skill sets in social media, content creation, community building and audience insights. This will allow us to dial up our fan focus and help artists tell their stories in ways that resonate.

As part of this shift, I’m sorry to say about two dozen people will be leaving us from across our three labels and their imprints. We’ve already informed everyone who is impacted. I know we will all support each other, even more than usual, and I deeply appreciate your empathy and understanding. 

We’ve all heard the same industry rumors about labels being reduced or merged into one another. I can tell you: this is not that. We’re deeply committed to the unique cultures across our labels, led by 300, Elektra and Atlantic. Craig, Kevin, and I passionately believe these identities are crucial to attracting great artists and building great careers. We want artists to be choiceful about the culture and team they belong with, just as we’re thoughtful about deciding which artists we’re signing. 

Right now, there’s incredible music coming through from artists across the entire group. We have some of our biggest superstars returning, and some extraordinary new artists we’re building in a very real way. We’re taking the right step into the future, and I hope you’ll continue to share your ideas with senior management so we can continually improve. 

Thank you.

Julie

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