Layoffs did not impact creative areas of company
Universal Music Group laid off some 60 North American back office personnel Friday, as anticipated.The company confirmed the downsizing in a statement: “As [with] any well-run company, the current economic climate dictates that we continue to look for more efficient ways to run our business. So we are taking steps to reduce costs while increasing our creative investment in a number of key areas and new businesses. While we regret the impact these cost savings have on those affected, we believe acting now will enable us to be even better positioned in taking smart creative risks.” The layoffs did not impact creative areas within the company, according to a source. A similar number of personnel were let go in such international territories as Spain and the U.K. The source also confirmed the arrival of a top A&R executive, Larry Jackson, who will serve as executive VP at UMG’s Interscope Geffen A&M division. The New York Times reported Jackson’s move Friday. Jackson was previously with Sony Music Entertainment. Another top Sony exec, Barry Weiss, is also headed for UMG after his contract expires in April (Daily Variety, Dec. 8); he ankled his post after it became apparent he would not succeed SME CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz. Schmidt-Holtz has announced his partnership in a German tech start-up (Daily Variety, Jan. 19), and UMG is reportedly in talks with UMG chairman and ex-CEO Doug Morris to replace him.