Sony Music Plans Layoffs

By | March 7, 2003 at 12:00 AM

The long-rumored restructuring at Sony Music is expected to take a hefty bite out of the record giant’s sales staff, with some form of combination of sales forces at flagship Sony labels Epic and Columbia to be part of the deal, sources close to the company said.

Exact figures are still being worked out, but the sales cuts will likely be well into the dozens when the smoke clears. Recent reports put the total number of expected layoffs around 1,000 staffers – though Sony insiders insist that number is high.

Sales cuts would follow a general trend in the industry in recent months. Both EMI and Warner Music laid off swathes of sales staffers in rounds of cost-cutting over the past two years, in an effort to streamline their operations and trim costs.

Recently installed Sony Music chief Andrew Lack – who came on board after turning around NBC’s news division – is winding up his evaluations of the company’s various business units, and is said to be close to laying out his plan.

Sony executives maintain that the company won’t go public with its restructuring scheme until after Sony Corp. finishes its fiscal year on March 31. Others close to the situation, however, argue that the company will act sooner, to keep the bad news on last year’s books.

At least some of the bloodletting has begun in Sony Music’s distribution arm, however, with sources reporting that the unit’s chief Danny Yarbrough has departed, and several other high-level execs are on their way out.

With Sony Music a financial laggard within the Japanese conglomerate, Sony’s corporate brass had reportedly been unhappy with former Sony Music chief Tommy Mottola’s inability to keep costs under control.