According to layoffs.fyi, a website that tracks job losses in tech, the tech sector has laid off nearly 7,800 employees in January so far, with Amazon saying goodbye to several hundred employees in its Twitch and studio operations (following layoffs in its music streaming division last November), and Google cutting some 1,000 jobs in its engineering, hardware and voice-assistant teams.
Apple reportedly told a team of 121 people working on Siri and AI that their jobs are moving from San Diego to Austin, Texas, and those who don’t switch offices or find other positions in the company will be laid off.
Now, Google-owned YouTube is reportedly making around 100 job reductions as part of a reorganization designed to streamline its operations as it handles an ever-growing number of creators on its platform and focuses on new technologies like AI.
As part of the reorg, YouTube’s music teams will be consolidated into a single team reporting to Lyor Cohen, the Global Head of Music at Google and YouTube.
Similarly, the video streaming service’s TV, film, sports and media teams will be consolidated into one group.
“As we have seen the past few years, our creator base is broadening and diversifying, from our most experienced creators to a new generation of casual creators posting on YouTube for the first time,” YouTube Chief Business Officer Mary Ellen Coe wrote on Wednesday (January 17) in an internal memo obtained by various media outlets.
“Gen AI tools will further fuel new forms of creativity and bring even more creators to the platform,” Coe’s memo continued. “At the same time, our subscription businesses have momentum, powered by partnerships with music, sports and media companies. As the business evolves, we have an even greater need to ensure we’re running the business effectively and meeting the needs of all of our users.”
The people whose roles are being phased out will be given the opportunity to apply for other positions, though it’s unclear whether they are guaranteed new roles, Tubefilter reported.
Other changes at YouTube will involve a centralization of its creator management teams, so that the teams answer to a dedicated leadership in each country.
“Gen AI tools will further fuel new forms of creativity and bring even more creators to the platform… As the business evolves, we have an even greater need to ensure we’re running the business effectively and meeting the needs of all of our users.”
Mary Ellen Coe, YouTube
The changes to YouTube’s music team come in the wake of a wave of job-cut announcements in the music business, notably Universal Music Group’s plan to cut ‘hundreds’ of jobs in Q1, primarily in its recorded music division.
Spotify announced 1,500 layoffs this past December, or around 17% of its workforce, in what was the third round of layoffs for the company last year. In all, the Sweden-headquartered music streaming service shed some 2,300 jobs in 2023.
However, while last year’s layoffs appeared to be driven by tighter access to capital amid rising interest rates, this year’s layoffs appear to be more closely related to the prioritization of AI technology.
“No company wants to get left behind by the AI revolution and they are all making sure they have these capabilities and are prioritizing them, even when it is at the expense of other initiatives,” D.A. Davidson & Co analyst Gil Luria told Reuters.
“We have ambitious goals and will be investing in our big priorities this year. The reality is that to create the capacity for this investment, we have to make tough choices.”
Sundar Pichai, Google
Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings Metro, told Axios that the think tank has a report on the way showing that “computer jobs,” including software development, have “generative AI exposure scores” of 90% or more, meaning that 90% of their work tasks could be done by AI in half the time.
However, the latest round of cuts is unlikely to be the end of it. Google CEO Sundar Pichai warned staff earlier this week that employees can expect further job cuts as the company shifts investments to new areas such as AI.
“We have ambitious goals and will be investing in our big priorities this year,” Pichai said in a memo first obtained by The Verge. “The reality is that to create the capacity for this investment, we have to make tough choices.”Music Business Worldwide