Universal Music Group will begin a “phased” reopening of its U.S. offices on Sept. 13, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. The directive applies to the company’s main offices in Los Angeles (both the Capitol building in Hollywood and the UMG mothership in Santa Monica), New York and Nashville; the announcement was made via a memo from UMG’s Chief People & Inclusion Officer Eric Hutcherson.
Both Hutcherson and the source noted that the reopening will depend on guidelines from local officials, and at this early stage many details remain unclear: Whether the “phased” return will be based on departments, labels, floors, etc. Employees were strongly advised to keep most meetings remote, via Zoom or phone; employees are required to wear masks in the office.
Warner Music Group told its employees several months ago that it planned a phased return to its offices in September, a source tells Variety, although those plans are also tentative based on guidelines from local officials; Sony Music’s plans were unclear at the time of this article’s publication.
The UMG news was first announced late Wednesday by Hits; perhaps not coincidentally, the quarterly earnings report of UMG’s parent company Vivendi was released early Thursday, during which the company announced that its plans for UMG’s IPO have moved up slightly, from “by the end of 2021” to this fall. UMG’s revenues went up 9.4% thanks to the growth in subscription and streaming revenues (which was up 19.6%). Recorded music revenues grew by 10.8%, while physical sales were up 14.8%, driven by bigger sales of new release and catalog titles.