Utopia Music makes layoffs as it cuts global workforce

Utopia Music has become the latest company to drastically reduce the size of its global workforce.

The acquiring company, headquartered in Switzerland, confirmed to MBW that it had made a number of redundancies.

Sources suggest that these cuts have mostly come to Utopia’s core team – including some top executives – as well as its tech-focused workforce.

To date, Utopia’s technical employees have been responsible for creating the company’s proprietary music monitoring platform, sometimes referred to as the “Utopia Open Platform” (UOP).

MBW understands that Utopia’s global team is 1,200 strong. This figure includes both contractors and approximately 800 employees.

A Utopia Music spokesperson told MBW today (24 November): “Like many growing businesses in the current macro environment, Utopia is making changes to its internal structure to optimize business.

“We have grown rapidly in two years, organically and through 15 acquisitions. Now we are realizing cost synergies through these acquisitions and focusing on sustainable growth. These changes allow us to better serve the music industry and provide fair compensation for every listen.

“Unfortunately, this means saying goodbye to some of our colleagues in this process. This is not a decision that was taken lightly and we greatly appreciate the contribution of all our employees to Utopia’s journey thus far.

“We have grown rapidly in two years, organically and through 15 acquisitions. Now we are realizing cost synergies through these acquisitions and focusing on sustainable growth.

Spokesperson for Utopia Music

Utopia is led by CEO Markku Mäkeläinen and was founded by Mattias Hjelmstedt.

Hjelmstedt previously founded media streaming startups Voddler and Magic.

News of job losses at Utopia follows a wave of layoffs that has swept across the tech side of the global music industry.

Just last week, Spotify’s MENA-focused rival Anghami revealed it was cutting 22% of its workforce. This followed an announcement in August that SoundCloud was cutting its global workforce by around 20%.

American collection company BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc) also confirmed in August that it was laying off “just under 10%” of its total workforce.

Spotify also reportedly cut new hires earlier this year, while more recent online rumors have suggested staff will be laid off from its talent team. Last month, podcast employees were also laid off at SPOT.

Today’s news follows a hiring spree at Utopia over the past 14 months, which has unfolded alongside an aggressive acquisition strategy.

This acquisition spree has included: UK warehouse, fulfillment and distribution company Cinram Novum; Proper Music Group, a UK-based physical and digital music distributor; and Absolute Label Services, another UK-based distribution and service provider for independent artists and record labels.

Earlier this year, Utopia also acquired Liverpool-based music publisher and publishing management company Sentric Music Group.

In December 2021, it acquired US music industry directory ROSTR and Austria-based music data analytics platform ForTunes.

In October 2021, the company purchased Nashville-based financial services company Lyric Financial and in September Utopia purchased Quincy Jones-backed emotional data enrichment company Musimap.

One of Utopia’s senior appointments this year was Ulf Zick, who left his position as international managing director at Universal Music Germany in April to join Utopia.

Last week we learned that, just six months after joining Utopia as Chief Marketing Officer, Zick announced he was leaving the Swiss company for a job back at Universal.

In August, MBW announced that Utopia was trying to raise €300 million in a Series C funding round that would value its business at €2.5 billion.The music industry around the world

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