EMI and Universal announce layoffs. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m starting to suspect that the music industry is maybe in a little trouble.

EMI and Universal announce layoffs. I don't know about you guys, but I'm starting to suspect that the music industry is maybe in a little trouble.

As Jerry Lee Lewis would probably put it if he worked for Tiny Mix Tapes as a shiftless and unpaid news intern in late 2012 but was still simultaneously a 1950s entertainer-par-excellence: “there’s a whole lot of layoffs goin’ on!” LOL, doesn’t that sound like a great song? I wonder where I can download it for free on the internet!

But seriously though: Lewis had better keep his crappy newswriting dayjob, because Billboard recently announced that Universal Music Group is currently hard at work consolidating its music distribution companies and its Nashville country music labels. After Universal’s merger with EMI got approved last month by a joint committee of Satan, John D. Rockefeller’s ghost, and that smog-villain guy from the movie Ferngully, Billboard’s sources said that nearly 60 employees were shrewdly unit-shifted to unemploymentville, including nearly 50 from EMI distribution and almost 10 from EMI’s Nashville office (a few Universal Music employees were jettisoned at the time as well). Even bigger wigs like EMI senior VP of sales John Nicholas and EMI East Coast field sales chief Joan Kane were re-shuffled by UMG into a senior catalog guy and Capitol Records label liaison, respectively, which confusingly combines the stress of being fired with the elation of being hired and probably resulted in some pretty interesting bowel movements. Meanwhile, EMI’s head of distribution and best bocce ball player Dominic Pandiscia has migrated to head of sales for Capitol Records, where he will reportedly have on his staff Blue Note’s Saul Shapiro and Astralwerks/Capitol’s David Miller. I know — I was worried about those guys too!

Unfortunately, those who escaped the firing squad for now aren’t even totally in the clear yet. Some members of the EMI distributions staff were told they would only have their jobs “for another 30 to 120 days,” according to sources in both the EMI and UMG sources. Obviously, those staff members will work as hard as they can for the company in the meantime.

“Following our acquisition of EMI Recorded Music, UMG will be expanding key creative areas as part of our ongoing integration,” read a Jack Donaghy-esque statement from UMG. “While this restructuring will unfortunately result in some redundancies, it is essential to UMG becoming an even more agile and efficient company, not just for this year or the next, but for years to come. Our goal is to maximize the resources available for reinvestment in our labels so they can do what they do best: develop and promote artists, increase the output of new music and expand opportunities for digital innovation.” I think that was Ebeneezer Scrooge’s goal, too, wasn’t it?

• EMI: http://www.emimusic.com
• Universal Music Group: http://www.universalmusic.com

[Photo: Joy Kennelly]