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
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.