As if anyone needed more evidence that the record industry was in trouble, last week Warner Brothers-owned label Reprise Records laid off some of its Senior Vice Presidents in the promotions department. Founded in 1960 by Frank Sinatra, today Reprise is home to artists such as Eric Clapton, Green Day, Devendra Banhart, and Oasis. According to Billboard, among those let go were Reprise Senior Vice President of Promotion Mike Rittberg, Warner SVP Ron Cerrito, Reprise VP of Pop Promotion Bob Weil, Warner VP of Pop Radio Promotion Ken Lucek, and Reprise VP of Alternative Promotion Lynn McDonnell.
The layoffs come two months after Warner Bros. was purchased by Len Blavantnik’s Access Industries and Stephen Cooper was newly appointed CEO. Upon leaving, long-time staff member Rittberg sent out an inspirational email to the staff, waxing nostalgic about a golden age in the industry: “Before my first job at a record store I had dreamed to work at Warner Bros. […] I will always remember my lunch with [legendary Warner President] Mo Ostin when I got the job ‘down the hall’ to run Reprise. He told me stories about Sinatra starting Reprise and how the first rock signings were Jimi Hendrix and The Kinks. It’s that spirit — of trying to forge new ground — that I will always carry with me in my next endeavor.”
• Warner Bros.: http://www.warnerbrosrecords.com