Universal, Warner, and Sony Music Employees Will Stay Home Until January 2021

See you next year, literally. In the last few days, the world’s three biggest label groups have all sent out internal memos alerting their U.S. employees that remote work will continue through to January 2021.

In the memos, obtained by Rolling Stone, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, and Warner Music Group all said they do not foresee employees returning to offices for the remainder of 2020, due to the persistence of new COVID-19 cases in the country.

Universal — home to the likes of Taylor Swift, Drake, Billie Eilish, Elton John — notified employees on Tuesday evening that “at this point, it’s our best judgement that not have a widespread return to our U.S. offices at least through late January, 2021, if not longer.” Warner — the major label behind Bruno Mars, Cardi B, and Led Zeppelin — wrote to employees on Wednesday that it had initially planned on welcoming back significant numbers of employees around September, but is now to “postpone those dates, at the earliest, until January for our U.S. offices and October for our U.K. offices.”

“As we’ve all shown what’s possible when we work remotely, it means that we can see how things develop, rather than needing to be among the first to return,” Warner told employees.

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Later on Wednesday, Sony — home to stars like Lil Nas X and Ozzy Osbourne — also emailed employees to say it does not anticipate a broad return to its U.S. offices “before the end of the calendar year.” While it will hold some in-office meetings, it said, those meetings will be in compliance with government guidances. “You will hear well in advance from your division leaders if you are requested to be part of these meetings so that you can share any concerns you might have with participating in the office,” Sony wrote.

This news comes on the heels of similar announcements from major tech companies. The U.S. was only two months into quarantine when Spotify said all of its employees could “choose to work from home through the end of the year.” Two weeks ago, Amazon announced that it would allow employees “who work in a role that can effectively be done from home” to do so until January 8th. And Google just said on Monday that its massive base of employees could work remotely until July 2021.

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