On Friday, March 20, Paradigm Talent Agency announced to its staff that it would be conducting mass “temporary” layoffs as the live music industry stares down a year of uncertainty due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A source close to the situation tells Pitchfork that the layoff terms do not include severance. In addition, according to the source, laid-off employees receive just one month of health care and benefits. An internal memo written by Paradigm CEO Sam Gores and sent to employees on March 20—also viewed by Pitchfork—confirms that health care for Paradigm staffers who were laid off will end at the end of April.
In another March 20 memo, sent by Executive Vice President of Business Affairs Craig Wagner to the employees who were laid off, Paradigm estimated that the temporary layoffs will “be less than six months in duration. While an initial report in The Hollywood Reporter estimated that the anticipated layoffs numbered “a hundred or more,” which were “not expected to be confined to any specific business unit,” a report published by Billboard on March 24 cited sources that put the estimate at over 200 agents, assistants, and other staffers who lost their job in the layoffs.
A new report from Variety, published earlier today, states that agents laid off include Dave Kaplan (who represented the Black Keys and Father John Misty) and Mike Mori (who represented the 1975). It is currently unclear whether the music department was more heavily affected than others. Wagner’s March 20 memo cited “significant decrease in the Company’s revenue, including the cancellation of music and entertainment events as well as television and film production, which are the core revenue stream of the Company’s business” as reasons for the layoffs.
The initial report in THR stated that “payroll will be reduced for those who remain at the company.” A source tells Pitchfork that this reduction is a 50% pay cut that hit everyone from the executive team to assistants. “They are making assistants who were making $18 an hour take the pay cut, so there are people now making $9 an hour working in assistant roles,” the source said. “It’s just so gross.”
Pitchfork has reached out to Paradigm Talent Agency for comment.