Featurrre: Tracking Major Layoffs And Purges Within The Music Industry


"NOT GOOD" -Anthony Fantano

By Angelo Comeaux

January 28, 2024

We asked ChatGPT's DALL-E to draw a picture of "music industry layoffs"

The music industry is in transition. The streaming boom is slowing down. Listener tastes and trends are evolving. Artists are empowering themselves in new ways. All this and more has led to noticeable earthquakes within many of the largest organizations in the music industry. What does this mean for artists, listeners, and people working in the industry? We don’t know, but below we will try to briefly summarize the most noteworthy recent shifts in the commercial music landscape.

Spotify: Spotify conducted several rounds of layoffs throughout 2023. In total around 2,300 people were laid off, amounting to 25% of their workforce.

Soundcloud: Soundcloud conducted layoffs in 2022 and 2023 in order to “get to a profitable position”, affecting around 150 people.

Tidal: In December 2023, Jack Dorsey owned streaming platform Tidal laid off 10% of staff, around 40 people.

Bandcamp: Direct to consumer music marketplace/media outlet Bandcamp was acquired by Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, in 2023. Epic then played hot potato, quickly passing the business along to music licensing startup Songtradr. Songtradr then proceeded to lay off half the company including every member of Bandcamp's elected union bargaining committee. According to 404 Media, Bandcamp United, the union, has filed an Unfair Labor Practice violation with the National Labor Relation Board against Songtradr. Action is currently pending.

Warner Music Group: In March of 2023, WMG laid off 270 people to support their goal of “reallocating resources towards new skills for artist and songwriter development and new tech initiatives”.

Universal Music Group: UMG has indicated to shareholders that they will conduct layoffs in the first quarter of 2024.

Pitchfork: The strangest development is taking place at Pitchfork Media. Their parent company, media giant Condé Nast (Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, GQ), recently announced that they are folding the company into GQ, the men's style and fashion magazine. It remains to be seen what this means for the people working at Pitchfork, or what this means for Pitchfork in general. The tea leaves are not looking good though.

We’d like to note that every article referenced while gathering this information referred to those fired as “employees”, “staff”, or “workforce”. Here we’re choosing to refer to them as people. Tallying the numbers above, in total 2,760 people have lost their jobs at these companies.

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