Warner Music Group is sparing Web3 and AI-related jobs amid global layoffs at the company, whilst Disney is cutting its entire metaverse arm.
On Wednesday, the record label laid off 4% of its global workforce, accounting for 270 employees, whilst stating it would retain staff involved in the firm's Web3 and AI projects.
“In my discussions with our leaders across the company, many of them came to the same conclusion–that to take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us, we need to make some hard choices in order to evolve,” the label's new CEO Robert Kyncl informed staff in an email.
The company's next focus will be on “new tech initiatives” and “new skills for artist and songwriter development.”
Over the past 18 months, Warner Music has sealed partnerships with Web3 projects including OpenSea, The Sandbox, Polygon-based NFT music platform LGND Music and digital fashion startup DressX.
Meanwhile, Disney cut its entire metaverse arm, accounting for 50 staff amid its 7,000 employee layoff. A second round of layoffs are expected next month according CEO Bob Iger, who is attempting to reduce $5.5 billion in costs.
Disney's Next Generation Storytelling & Consumer Experiences was headed by Mike White who worked at Disney for over a decade. The firm also hired top Apple gaming executive Mark Bozon as a senior creative lead for its metaverse division. White is expect to rotate into a different role but the status of the other executives is unclear.
Disney is not alone in cutting its metaverse spending. Earlier this month, Meta revealed it is ending support for NFTs on its platforms less than one year after rolling it out, whilst the firm prepares for additional job cuts.
Meta's fintech head Stephane Kasriel announced the firm is "winding down digital collectibles (NFTs) for now to focus on other ways to support creators, people, and businesses."
Read more: Meta "Short-Sightedly" Pulls NFTs From Instagram in Crypto U-Turn
"We'll continue investing in fintech tools that people and businesses will need for the future. We're streamlining payments w/ Meta Pay, making checkout and payouts easier, and investing in messaging payments across Meta," Kasriel said.
In February, Microsoft announced it was abandoning its industrial metaverse group just four months after its initiation, cutting 100 jobs.
Read more: Microsoft to Shut Down Industrial Metaverse Arm, Cuts Jobs
The Industrial Metaverse Core group was a division of the computer giant established to bring offer metaverse solutions for industrial environments. Potential clients included health care, retail financial services and energy.
That said, other firms are pursuing with their web3 ambitions. Just yesterday, Ticketmaster launched an NFT token-gating feature, with Avenged Sevenfold at the helm.
Read more: Avenged Sevenfold Leads Ticketmaster’s NFT Token-Gating Feature
Through Ticketmaster's NFT token-gating, artists can give eligible NFT holders special access to event tickets, as well as pre-sales or VIP rewards. The initiative hopes to onboard more participants to the Web3 space.
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