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WEA Restructuring

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Warner Elektra Atlantic basically shutting down in LA and heading for New York. Per press release:

    Citing “the evolving recorded music market” and a desire “to best serve its U.S. retail customers, label partners and artists,” WEA CEO Jim Caparro announced a restructuring of Warner Music Group’s U.S. distribution arm.

    As part of the reorganization, the company will move its headquarters from Burbank to New York City, where it will be based alongside the HQ of parent company WMG. The move had been expected.

    Caparro explained: “When WEA was formed in 1971, it was a paradigm for all music distribution companies, based on its unique structure and its approach to distributing music. However, significant changes in the industry require us to reposition the organization to take advantage of the rapidly evolving market and approach the business of distributing and marketing music and related product with fresh eyes. While the restructuring necessitates some painful changes, these are crucial in strengthening the organization and enabling us to continue to uphold WEA’s longstanding tradition of excellence.”

    The WEA restructuring includes the following:

    A transition from 10 branch offices to four regional offices, based in Atlanta, L.A., Minneapolis and N.Y., in response to a shift in WEA’s customer base. Branches in San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit and Dallas will be shuttered, as will marketing offices in Boston and Philly, affecting a total of 30-45 people.

    Significantly expanded marketing initiatives employing merchandising, college reps and event promotions to create greater consumer visibility of releases from developing and established artists.

    The creation of a “lifestyles” sales staff to address the nontraditional customer base, as well as handling and merchandising nontraditional product in traditional music retailers.

    A greater emphasis on new media to better position WEA as a distributor of music in both physical and digital form.

    As a result, approximately 50 positions will be relocated to WEA’s new East Coast home base, including sales and marketing along with their support staffs. Services such as finance, credit, IT and auditing will stay in Burbank for now. A number of employees currently in those positions will be offered the opportunity to relocate to company’s new headquarters. Those who choose not to do so will be offered assistance in job placement within WMG, AOLTW and outside companies.

The seismic shifts continue in the music industry.

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