Warner Music Group, EMI, Universal Music Group, and Song BMG together make up the "big four" of major labels, collectively controlling 80% of the United States' music market and 70% of the world music market. So, when Sony BMG reported that their revenues were down from $948 million to only $851 million in their second quarter filings, the proverbial fire was lit under many asses. And so, even with impressive late-year showings from Britney Spears' Blackout (over 1,000,000 copies sold worldwide) and Alicia Keys' As I Am (over 1,400,000!), it's too little, too late in the eyes of Big Poppa Bertelsmann.
Although Warner Group and Universal both do the Hanukkah thing and EMI rolls with Kwanzaa, rumor has it that stockings will be considerably lighter when December 25 rolls around for Sony BMG employees this year. Silicon Alley Insider is reporting that between 40 and 70 mid-level executives will be laid off before the end of the year, thanks to you pesky downloaders as they'd like you to believe. Had you only picked up a few copies of Chris Brown's Exclusive, the snow would fall peacefully, kisses would be exchanged under the mistletoe, and every boy and girl would have the trinkets they covet.
Instead, at Sony BMG, it's beginning to look a lot like Shitmas.