Weeks after reporting a sizable self-pay subscribership falloff for 2023 – and against the backdrop of a major operational revamp – SiriusXM has laid off approximately 160 employees.
The unfortunate news entered the media spotlight in reports from the radio trades today, and affected professionals were continuing to pen related LinkedIn posts at the time of this writing. According to a memo from CEO Jennifer Witz, the cutbacks represent one component of a broader plan to “become even more efficient, agile, and flexible” in a rapidly evolving competitive landscape.
And while Witz doesn’t appear to have elaborated upon the specifics associated with “the difficult decision to eliminate certain roles,” some of the impacted staffers are addressing the SiriusXM layoffs on social media, as mentioned.
Per the relevant LinkedIn profiles, these individuals include a technical program manager of about eight months, a 14-year company vet who was most recently an associate director for automotive operations and program management, and a Pandora senior software engineer of about five years.
Also describing themselves as part of the layoff round are a VP of sustaining engineering and a senior producer of video programming, to name some. Once again at the time of this writing, SiriusXM, which shut down Stitcher last year, hadn’t acknowledged the layoffs in a formal release. Shares (NASDAQ: SIRI), at $5.03 apiece, turned in a 2.65 percent valuation spike during trading.
Bigger picture, SiriusXM is, of course, hardly alone in trimming its headcount in an effort to optimize efficiency. Beyond the many recent layoffs throughout the wider tech sector, industry companies including but not limited to Spotify and Universal Music Group have moved to scale back the size of their respective teams. (Though the latter personnel reduction has been confirmed, its precise extent remains unclear.)
Importantly, in a seeming contrast to Spotify’s own emphasis on cost effectiveness, SiriusXM hasn’t abandoned its commitment to (decidedly expensive) exclusive programming.
Last month, the professional home of Howard Stern dropped a reported $100 million on a three-year exclusive deal for SmartLess and affiliated programs; the Jason Bateman-, Will Arnett-, and Sean Hayes-hosted podcast had previously called Amazon home.
Now professing to prioritize profitability, Spotify, on the other hand, has moved away from exclusive deals. Earlier this month, the platform opted instead for a revenue-sharing approach in a new pact for The Joe Rogan Experience, episodes of which have once again become available on services besides Spotify.