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UTA lays off 50 staff, reinstates full pay

United Talent Agency (UTA) is laying off around 50 employees, and reinstating full pay for active staff, according to a memo sent to staff yesterday (2 September).

CEO Jeremy Zimmer wrote in the memo that the agency would be reinstating full pay to employees in the next two weeks, after cutting salaries at the beginning of the pandemic, but would also be laying off 50 staffers.

The lay-offs will affect both current and some furloughed employees across several divisions and IQ understands that agents across all UTA offices worldwide, including its London-based European operation, will be affected.

“Our business is recovering, but the need remains to take a hard and honest look at the size and makeup of UTA—and make decisions that reflect what our business requires not just short term but for the foreseeable future,” reads the memo from Zimmer.

“As for our other furloughed colleagues, we are not able to reinstate them at this time and, given the continued uncertainty, we can’t yet set any expectations about when that might happen,” it continues.

“Our business is recovering, but the need remains to take a hard and honest look at the size and makeup of UTA”

It was reported in May that, UTA, which employs more than 1,100 individuals, furloughed 171 staffers in Beverly Hills.

Salary reductions were put in place back in March, prompting Zimmer and co-presidents David Kramer and Jay Sures to announce that they would forgo their 2020 salaries.

The memo also announced that the agency would increase base pay for assistants and hourly-compensated colleagues and the policy for overtime restrictions would be reviewed.

A number of other agencies reduced employee pay, furloughed staff or initiated lay-offs at the beginning of the pandemic.

Paradigm Talent Agency is known to have laid off some 250 staff in the early days of the outbreak, while CAA, UTA and APA all reduced employee pay. While WME’s parent company, Endeavor, laid off around 250 non-agents, including gardeners and restaurant workers, in late March.

 


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StubHub shutters offices in Asia, Latin America

Secondary ticketing giant StubHub is closing down its offices in parts of Asia and Latin America, further reducing its workforce worldwide, the Guardian has reported.

In an email seen by the newspaper, employees were told that the closures “mean that we have to bid farewell to our colleagues in Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Hong kong, Taiwan and Korea”.

“This decision has not been made lightly, nor easily,” reads the email.

It is understood that fewer than 100 of StubHub’s 650-strong workforce are facing redundancy as a result of the closures. However, the company is also believed to be making further cuts to its staff based in Madrid, with team members being furloughed or working reduced hours.

“This decision has not been made lightly, nor easily”

A StubHub spokesperson tells IQ that it will continue to serve customers in Asia Pacific and Latin Amerca with the support of “core operational teams in Europe”.

The measures constitute another round of staff reductions for the secondary ticketer, which was acquired by Viagogo last year. StubHub furloughed around a third of its workforce earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and also saw the departure of its CEO, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy in May.

“While events will be among the last to return to normal following this pandemic, we’re confident in the industry’s ability to rebound,” says a StubHub spokesperson.

“For now, we continue to support our customers and partners and look forward to a time when we are able to return to the joy of live events and the special connections that come with them.”

 


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Live Nation furloughs affect 20% of staff globally

Live Nation has furloughed 2,100 staff, some 20% of its 10,500-strong global workforce, as part of its US$600 million programme of cost cutting.

The concert giant announced last month it is targeting half a billion dollars’ worth of savings (later revised up to $600m) in order to weather the complete shutdown in concert touring caused by the novel coronavirus. Live Nation’s president, Joe Berchtold, said on 7 May he anticipates a burn rate of approximately $150m per month for the rest of 2020.

The news, first reported by Billboard, comes after Live Nation subsidiary Ticketmaster furloughed a quarter of its workforce in North America.

Among other cost-cutting measures at Live Nation are hiring freezes, reduction in the use of contractors, rent renegotiations and reduction or elimination of other discretionary spending (including, among other things, travel and entertainment, repairs and maintenance, and marketing), according to the company.

LN announced plans to issue new debt worth $1.2 billion last week, saying it will spend the proceeds on “general corporate purposes” ahead of a largely empty summer calendar.

 


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London agents affected as WME reduces staff by 20%

Agents, assistants and other support staff at WME’s EMEA headquarters, at 100 New Oxford Street in London, are among those affected by a 20% reduction in the agency’s workforce globally, IQ understands.

Effective today (Monday 11 May), approximately 20% of Hollywood-based WME’s staff are subject to lay-offs, furloughing, or pay and working hours reductions, as the powerhouse agency becomes the latest to slim down its workforce amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Paradigm Talent Agency is known to laid off some 250 staff in the early days of the outbreak, while CAA, UTA and APA have all reduced employee pay; UTA is also believed to have furloughed a number of workers.

WME’s parent company, Endeavor, laid off around 250 non-agents, including gardeners and restaurant workers, in late March.

The latest round of cuts at WME affect employees at all levels, including agents, assistants, partners and executives, although they are understood to have fallen primarily on non-agent executives and support staff.

“While we are making these difficult decisions now to safeguard our business, we believe in the resilience of our team and our industry”

“WME is reducing its workforce by approximately 20% as a result of COVID-19’s impact on our business,” says a WME spokesperson. “We appreciate the contributions of our former colleagues, and, out of respect for their privacy, we will not be commenting on the status of specific employees.

“While we are making these difficult decisions now to safeguard our business, we believe in the resilience of our team and our industry.”

According to the UK Live Music Group, which on Friday warned the UK live industry is on “life support” without government assistance, booking agencies employ around 4,000 people in the UK.

A recent survey by the Entertainment Agents’ Association showed that 73% of UK agency employees are currently furloughed, while 77% will need to be furloughed beyond 1 September.

 


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