As expected, the Recording Industry Association of America, the lobbying group of the four largest music labels, has laid off between 20 and 25 workers, or about 20 percent of the RIAA's workforce, according to music industry sources. In addition to the layoffs, the RIAA eliminated some positions through attrition, the sources said. In all, 31 of the company's 104 employees, or just under 30 percent, were either laid off or quit recently and will not be replaced. The RIAA leadership remains unchanged. My sources say CEO Mitch Bainwol and President Cary Sherman have contracts extending through the end of 2010.
According to two music industry sources, the layoffs happened earlier this month and most occurred at the RIAA's regional offices.
Back in December, when the RIAA announced that no longer would the industry focus on suing individuals for illegal file-sharing, sources told CNET that the top labels would soon slash the RIAA's budget. The group is now focusing on enlisting the help of Internet service providers in thwarting piracy.
According to the sources a poor economy and the music industry's declining revenues led to the layoffs. The Motion Picture Association of America, the trade organization that represents the largest film studios also recently reduced staffing.
"Like so many other businesses and organizations in this economy, the difficult times required us to find a way to fulfill our mission with fewer employees," an RIAA spokesman said via e-mail. "We'll continue our work to defend our rights, to expand the marketplace, and to achieve parity across platforms."
Digital Music News first reported the news.