WEA To Reorganize10 Dec, 2002 By: Joan Villa
Music giant Warner/Elektra/Atlantic Corp. (WEA) will relocate to New York and restructure with expanded marketing, merchandising and promotions designed to pump up deflated music sales, the company announced today.
Beginning Jan. 1, WEA will move its headquarters and about 50 staff positions from Burbank, Calif. to New York City, where it will be based alongside the worldwide offices of parent company Warner Music Group.
The transition will also reduce 10 branch offices to four regional offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York, in response to “a shift in WEA's customer base,” according to WEA CEO Jim Caparro.
"When WEA was formed in 1971, it was a paradigm for all music distribution companies, based on its unique structure and its approach to distributing music,” Caparro explained. “However, significant changes in the industry require us to reposition the organization to take advantage of the rapidly evolving market and approach the business of distributing and marketing music and related product with fresh eyes.”
The distributor was once a big player in home video, selling LIVE Home Video and A*Vision product. LIVE switched to Fox in the late 1990s and A*Vision folded, but the company has continued to maintain a presence in video with several independent lines, including Big Idea Productions (VeggieTales), as well as music video product from the Warner Music Group.
For years, the company was headed by Dave Mount, the former CEO of LIVE Entertainment, who retired earlier this year.
WEA will significantly expand marketing initiatives “that will employ a range of resources including merchandising, college reps and event promotions to create greater consumer visibility of releases from both developing and established artists,” the company said.
In addition, a “lifestyle” sales staff will address nontraditional customers by handling and merchandising nontraditional product for music retailers.
The new WEA will also be positioned to distribute recorded music in digital form in addition to physical CDs, the company added.
Affected employees will be offered relocated positions or internal job placement assistance at Warner Music Group, AOL Time Warner and with outside companies, a WEA spokesperson said.