Ticketing platform Eventbrite announced to its staff this week that it is laying off 45% of the company during the coronavirus pandemic, which includes many employees from its music division, Billboard reports.
While coronavirus causes massive revenue cuts across the music industry, ticketing sites are doing whatever they can to stay afloat. According to sources, Billboard notes that the cuts are expected to reduce the company’s annual expenses by $100 million. Many executives within the company will see unspecified cuts to their compensation as well; a proxy filing with the SEC shows that chief executive Julia Hartz received $390,000 in salary last year.
According to sources, Hartz reportedly made the layoff announcement on Wednesday during a companywide meeting and said that employees will receive phone calls. Around 450 people in Eventbrite’s San Francisco office will be impacted by the cuts, along with many employees in their Nashville office.
In a statement to Billboard, Eventbrite confirmed the layoffs and noted that the decision was made in light of the ongoing coronavirus global pandemic.
“As a company whose mission is to bring the world together through live experiences, Eventbrite has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, alongside the entire live events industry. To ensure the long-term durability of our mission, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our global workforce by 45 percent. This is a harsh reality to face and we are saddened to see many of our team members depart the company.
“We are committed to taking care of impacted employees during this already difficult time and in addition to severance, we are providing extended health benefits and dedicated job replacement support. This is a challenging time for communities all over the world and while we can’t predict when the pandemic will pass, we are committed to providing a strong platform to help creators rebuild their businesses and enable the return of live events when it’s once again safe to gather.”
Three years ago, Eventbrite purchased Ticketfly from Pandora for $200 million. Although Pandora tried to incorporate Ticketfly into its streaming app, it failed and sold the company. The site since faced a hacker, which took Ticketfly offline for more than a week, causing tensions between venues and Hartz. Although Eventbrite launched its IPO in fall 2018, the company revealed that it lost about $40 million a year in both 2016 and 2017, along with a closing of $68.7 million in losses in 2019. Ticketfly founder Andrew Dreskin stepped down as president of Eventbrite Music but will still act as a consultant for the company.
Eventbrite is the latest to announce massive cuts across the company; earlier this month, StubHub revealed that it would furlough 67% of its workers as it deals with the COVID-19 epidemic. A source told Celebrity Access that the layoffs are expected to last until “at least June.”
The live event industry will certainly take a hit amid this pandemic — reports from Pollstar show that revenue for the industry could be down as much as $9 billion in 2020.