As it adapts to the shifting landscape for recorded music, WEA, Warner Music Group’s global distribution, marketing and sales division, is reportedly offering buyouts to 130 employees who deal with physical product.
According to Billboard, WMG did not clarify their revised staffing goals, but the publication noted that the buyouts are likely related to the steep 19.6 percent decline in CD sales reported by Nielsen Music for 2017.
Sources told Billboard that staffers have about 45 days to decide to take the buyout offer and that WMG would likely use any cost savings from staff reductions to bolster their streaming music business.
“WEA has always been at the forefront of evolution in the industry, and the current shift towards digital and streaming is no exception. As our business continues to evolve, and in order to maximize our artists’ impact globally, we are realigning resources within WEA,” WEA President Tony Harlow told employees in an internal memo obtained by Billboard.
While streaming is an increasingly important part of the recorded music ecosystem, Billboard noted that WMG does not intend to drop physical completely. In 2017, WEA’s two top-selling titles – Ed Sheeran’s ‘Divide’ and Bruno Mars’ ’24K Magic’ each sold hundreds of thousands of CDs. Sheeran led the charge with 450,000 units and Mars close behind with 426,000 unit sold.