Sony/ATV Staffers to Receive ‘Special’ Bonuses for EMI Sale

Jon Platt
Courtesy of Nadav Kander

When Sony/ATV’s $2.3 billion takeover of EMI Music Publishing closed last fall, it was rumored that approximately $200 million in bonus compensation was divided between 10 to 12 top executives, with as much as 50% going to chairman/CEO Martin Bandier, who stepped down from his post last week.

Music Business Worldwide today not only published that report, citing several unnamed sources, it also says that new CEO Jon Platt, whose first official day in the job was Monday, sent a memo to the staff saying that all of the company’s employees will be “rewarded for their contribution” to the EMI deal, which began in 2012 when Sony/ATV acquired 30% of the company.

“I’ve decided, with support from Tokyo, to grant a special one-time supplemental bonus to each member of the Sony/ATV team in recognition of this achievement,” the memo reads in part, according to MBW. “I believe it’s very important, and senior [Sony] management in Tokyo agrees, that all Sony/ATV employees should be rewarded for their contribution,” wrote Platt in the memo, obtained by MBW.

Sources tell Variety that the move came after considerable backlash from employees excluded from the bonus — particularly women — who complained that Bandier only rewarded his close-knit team. Sources also said staffers are wondering who will determine how much each employee will receive, as Platt was not involved in the EMI sale and thus has little first-hand knowledge of each staffers’ contribution.

A different source tells Variety that the new bonuses will not be coming out of the $200 million, but rather from a new fund established by Sony Corp.

Platt told his “incredible team” that he would be sharing further details about the “EMI Special Recognition Bonus” in the coming weeks.

Reached for comment by Variety, Bandier said via a rep, “I think it’s great”; a rep for Sony/ATV had no comment.

The move is in line with Sony Music’s announcement last year that it would share its profits from the $768 million sale of 50% of its Spotify equity with artists and distributed labels, and would not put that money toward compensation for unrecouped balances. Universal Music said it would do the same but has not yet sold any of its Spotify equity; Warner Music shared its profits with artists and labels, but in many cases put the money toward unrecouped balances.