Hundreds have been furloughed as part of cost-cutting measures put into place by Ticketmaster, surprising many who had been assured the company was trying hard to avoid cutting staff on multiple calls, according to Billboard.

Multiple offices across North America will be impacted by the cuts to the Live Nation-owned ticketing giant. They are the first large-scale employment cuts at the industry leader in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has largely ground live entertainment to a halt. Company officials told Billboard impacted employees will see their health benefits paid out.

“These are critical employees and we plan to bring everyone back,” one official is quoted as telling Billboard.

Ticket Flipping's toolbox of ticket broker tools

The move comes in short order following Live Nation’s announcement of a refund plan for postponed and cancelled performances in the wake of Covid-19 after major backlash to a policy change earlier in the pandemic limiting refund options for consumers. The company had announced cost-cutting measures earlier in April, including CEO Michael Rapino forgoing his full compensation and large salary cuts accepted by senior executives. It should be noted that furloughs were mentioned at the time of that cost-cutting strategy announcement.

“The live entertainment industry has delivered incredible global growth for over 20 years, which speaks to the great passion and resilience of fan demand,” Rapino said in a statement at the time. “With this additional liquidity, the flexibility in our debt covenants, and cost-cutting efforts, we believe that Live Nation has the financial strength to weather this difficult time. We will be ready to ramp back up quickly and once again connect audiences to artists at the concerts they are looking forward to.”