Utopia Music cuts global workforce

Utopia Music has become the latest company to significantly downsize its global workforce.

The Swiss-headquartered company has confirmed that it has made a number of cuts to MBW.

Sources suggest the layoffs are primarily among Utopia’s core team, including some senior executives, as well as its technology-oriented workforce.

To date, Utopia’s technology staff has been tasked with building the firm’s proprietary music monitoring platform, sometimes referred to as the “Utopia Open Platform” (UOP).

MBW understands that Utopia has a global team of 1,200 people. This figure includes both contractors and about 800 employees.

A spokesperson for Utopia Music told MBW today (November 24): “Like many companies growing in today’s macroeconomic environment, Utopia is making changes to its internal structure to optimize the business.

“We have grown organically and through 15 acquisitions in two years. We are now realizing cost synergies on these acquisitions and focusing on sustainable growth. These changes allow us to better serve the Music Industry and provide Fair Pay Per Play.

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

“We have grown organically and through 15 acquisitions in two years. We are now realizing cost synergies on these acquisitions and focusing on sustainable growth.”

Spokesperson for Utopia Music

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

Hjelmstedt previously founded media streaming startups Voddler and Imagine.

News of the job losses at Utopia follows a wave of layoffs across the tech-driven side of the global music business.

Last week, MENA-based Spotify rival Anghami announced it was cutting 22% of its workforce. This follows the news in August that SoundCloud was cutting its global workforce by around 20%.

US-based compilation company BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc) also confirmed in August that it was laying off “just 10%” of its total workforce.

Spotify was reported to be cutting back on new hires earlier this year, while more recent online rumors have pointed to layoffs from the talent pool. Last month there were also reports of podcast staff being laid off at SPOT.

Today’s news follows a hiring frenzy at Utopia over the past 14 months, coupled with an aggressive acquisition strategy.

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

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

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

In October 2021, the firm acquired Nashville-based financial services company Lyric Financial, and in September, Utopia acquired 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, Zik announced he was leaving the Swiss company to join Universal.

In August, MBW reported that Utopia was seeking to raise 300 million euros in a Series C that would value its company at 2.5 billion euros.Music business in the world