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"While these changes will result in the loss of some positions, we believe that they will also enable Sony Music Entertain-ment to effectively meet the challenges of a continually chang-ing marketplace for music worldwide."
——SME Chairman Andrew Lack
LACK FRIDAY HITS HOME
Consolidation Underway, Cutbacks Across the Board, Ienner Announcement Expected Soon

In the latest news to come from the Sony Music camp, Columbia and Epic’s R&B and Crossover promotion departments are being consolidated into one staff headed by Columbia exec Lisa Ellis. Her key lieutenant will be Epic’s Liz Pokora on the Crossover tip, with all R&B promotion reporting to Columbia’s Charlie Walk.

In addition, Friday saw numerous layoffs across the board affecting the staffs of both Columbia and Epic.

This latest news follows the much-anticipated restructuring of Sony Music Entertainment by recently named Chairman Andrew Lack, which began in earnest Thursday, with across-the-board consolidation.

International, distribution, sales, business affairs, backroom functions and Nashville were affected, as well as the staffs of Columbia and Epic on both coasts and the reported shuttering of SMD’s Dallas branch. Sony Music Canada, Australia and Europe all received significant downsizing as well.

In an internal memo to all Sony Music employees obtained by HITS, Lack stated: "We are streamlining the management structure of the company both in the U.S. and abroad, and we are taking measures to more closely coordinate our marketing efforts around the world. We are also combining some functions, most notably in sales and distribution, in order to minimize duplication of efforts and more efficiently service the needs of our artists, employees and customers."

Sources indicate that a further consolidation and sharing of services will be implemented tomorrow, resulting in the loss of about 1,000 jobs worldwide.

As part of the restructuring, the elevation of Don Ienner to head Sony Music's U.S. operations is rumored to take place within the next two weeks. In that role, he will oversee both the Columbia and Epic labels, with Will Botwin and Polly Anthony reporting to him. Insiders also expect the eventual naming of a new distrib topper, following the exit of longtime head Danny Yarbrough earlier this month.

SME Execs Michele Anthony, Kevin Kelleher and Robert Bowlin are all expected to play major roles in the new order. Meanwhile, insiders say Rick Dobbis will be given expanded duties in international operations. The imminent retirements of Epic Records Group Chairman Dave Glew and SME Vice Chairman Mel Ilberman are not expected to be affected by these latest moves.

As part of the consolidation, a single R&B promotion, marketing and A&R division will be formed comprising staffers drawn from both Epic and Columbia. Epic Records Group Exec. VP A&R/Urban Music David McPherson is expected to have an expanded new role. Both labels will continue to exist in the R&B world as separate entities. R&B promotion will be overseen by Columbia promotion exec Walk; there will, however, be two separate pop promotion departments, one under Walk, the other under Epic Records’ Joel Klaiman.

Both labels will reportedly continue to have separate A&R divisions, too.

Added Lack: "While these changes will result in the loss of some positions, we believe that they will also enable

Sony Music Entertainment to effectively meet the challenges of a continually changing marketplace for music worldwide.

"Moving forward, we all have good reason to be optimistic. With a roster that includes some of the greatest artists in the world, a vast catalog of influential recordings and access to the considerable resources of our parent company, we are perfectly positioned to continue as a leader in our business.

"Please know your efforts will be even more important as we continue to grow the company in the months and years ahead, and further solidify SME’s reputation as one of the most dynamic and successful organizations in the music industry."

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