Published Apr 29, 2020Further proving that the concert industry is in some serious financial trouble, Ticketmaster North America has reportedly furloughed a quarter of its workforce.
Sources have confirmed to Variety that hundreds of employees were alerted to the layoff on Tuesday (April 28) during a conference call informing staff they would be let go on May 1. This was then followed by an internal letter from Ticketmaster president Jared Smith, whose message to employees was today acquired by the publication.
"For the very first time in the history of live entertainment, the industry is completely shut down — something that a few short months ago would have seemed incomprehensible," Smith said in the letter to employees.
"Since the beginning of this global crisis, we have operated with the goal of staying true to our company's core philosophy of 'taking care of our own.' This is why we continued to keep our team at full pay through March and April, even as the tens of thousands of events we support and sell ground to a halt."
Speaking specifically to staff members' response due to the COVID-10 crisis, Smith wrote, "This team spirit and camaraderie made the decision to furlough a portion of our workforce all the more difficult. I assure you, however, that this decision was arrived at with great consideration and care. Without a doubt, this is the hardest decision I have faced in my tenure leading this great organization but it is one I feel is necessary to protect the future of our company."
According to Variety, the layoffs are indeed only temporary, with Ticketmaster North America expected to bring back the employees once the live music landscape rights itself. However, concerts are not expected to get back to normal for a very long time, and even with lockdown restrictions lifted, many Americans recently said they would not attend live events until a proven COVID-19 vaccine arrived.
It's unclear exactly how many employees are effected in the U.S. and Canada, but the payroll suspensions will begin on May 1. Employees will continue to collect health benefits while away, as well as receive a one- to two-week payout.
Variety reports that no further layoffs are expected at Ticketmaster.
"We are entirely focused on getting back to business as soon as it is safe and sensible to do so, and in turn, protecting your job for the future," Smith wrote in his letter. "We will continue to evaluate the situation and begin bringing back employees as soon as circumstances permit us to do so."
The announcement comes in the wake of parent company Live Nation launching its "Ticket Relief Plan" website following massive wave of backlash against Ticketmaster during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As countless events continue to be postponed and cancelled, both Live Nation and Ticketmaster have met threats of class action lawsuits. Live Nation also found Saudi Arabia buying a 5.7 percent stake in entertainment giant for just under $500 million USD.
You can follow Exclaim!'s list of Canadian music and film events affected by coronavirus.