Sony Music Laying Off Up To 500 Worldwide

Major-label home of Macy Gray, Rage Against the Machine, Celine Dion says it's in 'transition.'

As many as 500 employees are being laid off Friday (July 14) at Sony Music Entertainment, which is the parent of the Columbia and Epic labels and home to such artists as Macy Gray, Rage Against the Machine, Wyclef Jean and Celine Dion.

The company is "redirecting its resources on a worldwide basis to more effectively and efficiently transition the company to meet the new challenges brought about as the industry continues to evolve," the company said in a statement.

Employees were handed pink slips as they arrived at company offices around the world Friday morning. The company said up to 500 of its 13,500 employees — 3.7 percent of its worldwide workforce —: would be let go.

"It's devastating," said one Sony Music employee whose job was not cut and who declined to be named. "It's not the people that you'd necessarily think ... so it makes you wonder when it could be you. You can understand some of the consolidation, but it makes me wonder where the whole business is going."

A spokesperson said Sony was trying to limit the number of layoffs by transferring employees to other jobs in the company.

Sony's labels also include Epic, Legacy, 550 and Sony Classical. Among the artists who record for those labels are Latin pop stars Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan, rock bands the Offspring and Pearl Jam, singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, classical composer Philip Glass and jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.

(This story was updated at 7:44 p.m. EDT Friday, July 17.)