Exclusive: Shake Up Coming To Warner Music, Executives Departing

Warner Music Group will start laying off almost

20 percent of it's workforce this week. Almost 1,000 people will lose their jobs

as a result of Edgar Bronfman Jr.'s purchase of WMG and his attempt to save $250

million dollars annually.

The restructuring plan will be announced tomorrow

and has resulted in the departure of two high powered executives. Val Azzoli,

co-CEO of Atlantic, Ron Shapiro, co-President of Atlantic and Sylvia Rhone,

chairman and CEO of Elektra, will both exit their posts.

Sources stated that Rhone is already in talks

with Universal to head up her own record label.

"There are two different sides to the situation,"

a source speaking under the condition of anonymity told AllHipHop.com. "This

has been lingering for a while so I think most employees are relieved to get

this out of the way and move forward. On the opposing side of things, many of

the lower level employees (under the managerial level) feel as if its an opportunity...believing

that we must "destroy to rebuild" in order for them to have a chance

in this industry."

Sources stated that Bronfman will next pursue

a merger with EMI, in an attempt to rival the size of Universal and the pending

Sony-BMG merger.

AllHipHop.com has obtained Rhone's announcement

to the Elektra staff.

To the Elektra staff:

There is an old music business adage that says

whenever musicians gather to jam, they inevitably divide themselves into two

categories: those who worry how to begin and those who want to know how it will


Though, ironically, I have never played a note,

I've always put myself in the first category. As most of you know by now, the

only work ethic I've ever known was to go to work everyday to win - to go the

distance even if it meant being the last one standing! Yes, sometimes we improvised...but

quite often we hit every note and showed the world what a boutique label could

do when a great staff and magical group of artists were in sync with each other.

In a sense, Elektra has always been about renewal.

Certainly, in my 24 years as part of the Warner Music Group, nothing excited

me more than a new challenge, the next great artist, the brightest marketing

or promotion plan that could help shape Elektra into the worldwide force that

it has become.

Ultimately, however, endings do come. As I close

out this chapter of my career, nearly ten years as the Chairman/CEO of this

great company, I want to express my gratitude for your tireless dedication,

your inspiring devotion to our artists, and your never ending loyalty as we

delivered to the world the most vital and diverse roster in the history of this


I cannot begin to relate to you the pride I feel

in our achievements. I will always hold the greatest respect for your steadfast

professionalism - the grace you exhibited under pressure in the face of tumultuous

change that would have torn any lesser staff apart.

Ultimately, change is good. And if another edict

holds true, that change enables us to more clearly see ourselves, I'm confident

that you will continue Elektra's mission with the same vigor and determination

to succeed that you have displayed throughout our many years together. Please

know that I will cherish forever the camaraderie we shared as a team and that

I hold a special place in my heart for each and every one of you.