Warner, Atlantic, Polygram Cut Staff as Music Sales Slow

Los Angeles, CA. Warner Bros. Records (Time Warner) announced on the weekend that it is cutting staff at its black music division by 35 percent. Last week, PolyGram NV said it would lay off 400 staff and restructure its music operations to reflect declining music sales. And earlier in the month, Time Warner’s Atlantic Group cut more than 60 jobs and dropped a number of artists from its roster.

It’s all a sign of the times, as sales of music products decline throughout the world, across all categories. Other major record labels and distributors, including Sony, BMG, EMI and MCA have been reporting record rates of returns from retailers, and unusually high inventories in recent months. Record store closures and bankruptcies have also been making news.

The decline is expected to continue, even though general consumer spending is increasing in a strengthening economy. Many in the retail music industry say that consumers have finished replacing their record collections with compact discs.

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