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LABEL UPDATES: Sony Layoffs on the Horizon – Linkin Park New CD to Have List Price of $19.98 (Click on More to view all articles)

With Andrew Lack now firmly heading Sony Music, changes for the conglomerate are expected rather quickly with the letting go of numerous employees. According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 1,000 jobs worldwide will be lost while the New York Daily News was a bit more conservative with 700-1,000 jobs lost in the integration of a variety of record business operations. In 2002, the Sony music division lost a staggering $142 million.

Other changes will be the promotion of Columbia chairman Don Ienner to head Sony Music North America; however, Ienner has not yet signed a new contract with Sony. Epic chairman Dave Glew is retiring at the end of March and probably will be replaced by Polly Anthony.
Michele Anthony, who recently renewed her deal, will continue as executive vice president of Sony Music Entertainment.

Linkin Park New CD to Have List Price of $19.98

When the new Linkin Park CD "Meteora" is released by Warner Bros. on March 25, it will have a list price of $19.98–a first for a single disc album in some time other than a soundtrack or greatest hits compilation. Granted that the CD will contain some extras–a 40-page booklet, links to the video Web site Linkin Park TV, a screensaver designed by the band, a promo spot for Linkin Park's fan club and others bonuses–but in a time when CD sales are decreasing and internet downloads are increasing, this seems to be an unusual stance for a major label to take. There will also be a limited edition version featuring a separate DVD priced at $24.98. However, there will be no cheaper version without extras. The label plans to ship instant platinum–1.5 million copies.

Sal Nunziato of NYCD, a retail store on the Upper West Side of New York, has this to say about this about the pricing: "What if you went into a restaurant and ordered a cheeseburger, french fries and a coke–which by normal standards should cost you between $6-$8 –and the waiter said, 'Here's your cheeseburger, fries, and coke plus I'm giving you a BLT, some cole slaw, an iced coffee and two pieces of Key Lime Pie. That'll be $16.99, please.'"

"No one gives a crap about the CD-extras," he continued. "NO ONE. The numbers would be the same, if not higher, if the CD was 10-14 bucks, instead of 20 bucks! And then, sales would inject life into the business, and the label morons wouldn't have to lay off the working morons who probably don't deserve to work in the music business anyway."

Arista Axes 18 Employees

Arista Records has laid off 18 workers, reducing its work force to 157 employees.

"It's our responsibility to continue to plan for the future," said Arista president/CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid in a statement. "In the course of our normal business review, we saw there were still areas in which we could run more efficiently and effectively. Therefore, we took the necessary but difficult steps of reducing our staff."

I AM Recordings/ARTISTdirect Signs The Cure

I AM Recordings/ARTISTdirect Records has signed The Cure. "The Cure has been my favorite band for years and years", says label head Ross Robinson, who has produced KoRn, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Sepultura, At The Drive-In and The Blood Bothers. "They were instrumental in my approach to production. It was The Cure that opened me up to a more sensitive, heartfelt type of music, and I've been extremely loyal to that feeling in every project I've done since then".

The band's current lineup, which includes Smith, Simon Gallup on bass, Perry Bamonte on guitar, Jason Cooper on drums, and Roger O'Donnell on keyboards, and will begin work on its I AM/ARTISTdirect Records debut in London in July. For Robinson, the opportunity to finally produce The Cure represents his most exciting creative opportunity.

"I was backstage at KROQ's Weenie Roast years ago", he recalls, "where I noticed The Cure's road cases. I remember saying, 'If these cases are ever in a recording studio with me, and I'm producing these guys, then I'll just quit the business after that'. What could possibly follow producing The Cure"?