Los Angeles-based Paradigm, one of the most successful live talent agencies worldwide, is preparing to lay off over 100 staff as the Coronavirus-triggered halt in live music activities continues to hurt the sector.
Considering that Paradigm employs an estimated 700 people, the news will see over a seventh of the firm’s workforce handed redundancy.
According to Deadline, Paradigm CEO Sam Gores (pictured) informed his staff of the expected lay-offs on Friday (March 20) in what the Hollywood publication says was an “emotional” call.
Gores reportedly intends for the lay-offs to be “temporary”; he is hopeful that employees losing their jobs will be able to re-apply for their positions once Paradigm is through the worst of the Coronavirus crisis.
However, Deadline further reports that the total number of lay-offs may end up “much higher” than 100, and that the majority of Paradigm’s employees will end up affected by the move.
Last month, Paradigm boss Gore told staff in an internal note, emphatically, that his company was “not for sale”.
That missive followed press rumors that the likes of CAA and UTA had made approaches to buy Paradigm, making offers in the vicinity of $300m.
“I want to address a recent press report suggesting the potential sale of Paradigm,” said Gores’ staff note in February. “Let me state emphatically – we are not for sale, nor are we selling the agency.”
Paradigm represents artists including Ed Sheeran (US), Shawn Mendes, Diplo and Coldplay. Outside of music, it also represents talent working across television, motion pictures, theatre, digital, book publishing, content finance, and brand partnerships.
In further evidence of COVID-19’s negative impact on the talent agent sector, WME held its own difficult call with partners of the company last week.
Deadline further reported on Friday that WME partners were expecting to be able to cash in 20% of their respective equity in the company on April 5, calculated on a $3.6bn valuation for the firm.
However, Deadline reports, this cash windfall has now been “pushed down the road indefinitely and the partners were also told it is likely they will be asked to volunteer to take pay cuts, until business rebounds”.
Earlier this month, both Paradigm and WME came together with other leaders of the live music space including Live Nation and AEG to agree that all major events in the US, and countries deemed level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), should be postponed through the end of March due to the Coronavirus outbreak.Music Business Worldwide