Posted on 3/25/2004at 0:16 AM
This story appeared in R&R Magazine on March 3, 2004

Black Tuesday Arrives For Warner Music Group

The fallout from Warner Music Group's Monday takeover by an investment group headed by new WMG Chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. continued yesterday, as news of 20% staff cuts became publicly known. Inside sources tell ST that Warner Bros. Records co-Chairman Jeff Ayeroff has departed, as have WB Records CFO Marty Greenfield and the Elektra sales staff. Warner Bros./Jazz VP Sales & Mktg. Randall Kennedy is also out, as are Warner Bros./Jazz Nat'l Director/ Promotion Crissy Zagami and Nat'l Director/A&R Dana Watson. Additionally, ST hears that WMG Chairman/CEO, U.S. Recorded Music Lyor Cohen said on a company conference call that the Atlantic and Elektra imprints will share a single promotion staff in the near future. Meanwhile, six people are now out at Warner Music Group/Nashville, including President Jim Ed Norman, Sr. VP/A&R Paige Levy and Sr. VP Janice Azrak. At Reprise, VP/Publicity Karen Moss, Mastering exec Joanne Leone and Editorial exec Eileen Lucero depart. No less than 34 people have exited Word Label Group, and seven individuals from Warner/Chappell Music Publishing have left.

This appeared in R&R the next day........

Following up on yesterday's announcement that the takeover of Warner Music Group by his investment group is complete, WMG Chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. today sent a memo to WMG staff announcing "a series of necessary restructuring steps that are critical to the future of Warner Music Group." Bronfman writes, "In order take full advantage of our opportunities for growth and success, we need to reduce our global workforce by approximately 20%, beginning today, and anticipate much of this will be completed within the coming month." WMG's East Coast operations will be consolidated with a merger of the business and legal-affairs and finance and label-sales divisions of Elektra and Atlantic, and WMG Chairman/CEO, U.S. Recorded Music Lyor Cohen is now serving as interim Chairman of both labels. As reported by R&R yesterday, Elektra Chairman/CEO Sylvia Rhone, Atlantic co-Chairman Val Azzoli have exited; Atlantic co-President Ron Shapiro is also out. Former WMG Chairman/CEO Roger Ames is in discussion with the label concerning a senior management role, Bronfman says. Meanwhile, Atlantic founder and Chairman Emeritus Ahmet Ertegun will stay with WMG and, writes Bronfman, "help us continue the label's world-renowned legacy." Bronfman continues, " While most of the changes we anticipate making have been announced today, we are still working on a number of additional steps, including the management structure of our East Coast labels. We will announce these as quickly as possible."

Now what exactly does this mean? Other than a handful of music business legends out of a job, this also means that Warner Brothers has officially eliminated its jazz department. This also means that for the moment, the CMB's new live recording has been postponed. At this time, no decisions have been made on what WB will do with its artist roster. I'll keep you posted right here at christianmcbride.com.

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