Major Label Layoffs…

Layoffs at all the major labels are continuing as of the end of January 08. It seems the overall downturn in music sales for 2007 has led majors like EMI & Sony to cut staff. looks like the departments taking the hits are finance, distribution, and retail coordination.

On the one hand, at least there is change coming from these majors. Independent labels have known for a while that the best way to operate is to keep expenses as low as possible while maximizing profits. Indies are also more flexible, open minded, and quicker to react to the new music marketing landscape. So it’s possible the majors are trying to turn their titanics around and become leaner and meaner. Hopefully, the money they save on huge staffs and over-blown marketing strategies can be passed on to the consumer in the form of lower CD prices. Obviously, $18 for a CD wasn’t cutting it.

Making the consumer pay for the ridiculous spending habits at these labels caused massive revolts on the part of the music buyers AND the artists. MTV calls 2007 the “year the music industry broke”.

On the other hand, it’s unfortunate that the employees at these labels are the fist to suffer when budgets get cut. And you also have to wonder if this really does signify a change in the attitudes at these labels. I guess only time will tell.

In the meantime, indie labels like XL Recordings are debuting albums on the Billboard Top 20 charts, with just a fraction of the marketing dollars. So, for now at least, this “Music 2.0” thing is looking more and more like the age of the independents.

More to follow, you can bank on that!

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