Major Labels

WMG has strongest quarter ever, tips 10% layoffs, Uproxx & HipHopDX sale to invest $200M in core music business

Warner Music Group has announced its strongest quarter ever, with revenue rising 17% for the period ending Dec. 31, 2023, to $1.75 billion.

UPDATE: As of mid-morning Thursday, WMG stock was trading at $36.70, up1.41%.

But in an internal memo obtained by Billboard, CEO Robert Kyncl wrote to staff that WMG would be reducing its workforce by 10% or about 600 people, and selling or shuttering media properties, including Uproxx & HipHopDX, to help free up $200 million to reinvest in the company.

“Earlier today, we began exiting our O&O media properties, as well as our in-house ad sales function,” Kyncl wrote. “These are dynamic platforms, but they operate outside our core responsibilities to our roster. We’re in an exclusive process for the potential sale of the news and entertainment websites Uproxx and HipHopDX, with more to say on that soon. After a thorough exploration of alternatives, we’ve decided to wind down the podcasting brand Interval Presents and social media publisher IMGN.”

“We’re getting on the front foot to create a sustainable competitive advantage over the next decade,” Kyncl continued. “We’ll do so by increasing funding behind artists and songwriters, new skill sets, and tech to help us deliver on our three strategic priorities.”

In previous statements, the CEO listed his priorities as growing engagement with artists and music (i.e., superfan monetization), increasing the overall value of WMG’s music, and improving how the company’s teams work together.

Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a Berklee College Of Music professor.

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