A figure that is expected to grow rapidly

February 22, 2012 12:00 AM
A figure that is expected to grow rapidly

Disk crisis continues, and it is the music industry reinvents its model. To face the disappearance of the CD and the arrival of new types of consumption of music, the record labels, which should also claim this name, indeed began a diversification in March forced of their activities. Pascal Nègre, Universal Music CEO, revealed so recently on the website of "Point" that now only 50 of the sales company came from the sale of discs in the store, the other half being allocated between the management of copyright and trade agreements with sites selling online or listening "streaming". A shift to necessary, since the turnover of the sector has melted by 50, from $ 1.3 billion to 765 million euros between 2002 and 2007.

For human resources, which must follow the frenetic pace of these changes, the task is tough. While record companies have already lost half of their workforce in recent years, through painful layoffs plans, the transition phase towards of new "business models" is far from completed. Majors EMI and Sony BMG are again conducting important plans of departures, which probably explains their reluctance to communicate on this topic. One-third of the workforce is under EMI, recently bought by investment fund Terra Firma, and which today employs 200 people when it had more than 500 in 2000. Same thing with Sony, which will remove more than 80 positions on a total of 280.

"Of other skills."

By Borey Sok, consultant independent specialist in the music industry, in their difficulties to adapt, "labels pay even the price of some of the excesses of the boom period of the 1990s, where they were huge turnover and recruiting arm turn". All trades are affected: administrative services, accounting, finance, but also marketing, even if targeted probably were the responsible for commercial distribution in the different points of sale. For Jean-Philippe Delannoy, delegate Union CFE - CGC in Universal: "all trades in connection with the physical product disk are threatened." "With the dematerialization, the sales forces that would place the disks in the bins are most affected." Labels now require persons able to sell music online. "It is another scale and above all other skills, as it is to negotiate with a player like Virgin Mega conditions to which it can disseminate all or part of its catalogue," explains Fabien Geledan, consultant at Oliver Wyman.

For not to miss the turn of the consumer online, record labels at the same time put to hire new skills, particularly in the "Web marketing". "Communication for example, the rules have changed, analysis Borey Sok. Labels separate from their traditional press officers and recruit new profiles as "communitee managers", who manage communities of fans. They also need to press new media dealing with large music portals. "From a technical point of view, the transition to digitization also need to appeal to computer specialists to treat data bases. And while the complexity of the law in these emerging modes of consumption has increased, record labels had to strengthen their legal services.

Step of conversion plan

In these deployments, yet announced for years as inevitable, reclassifications were almost zero. For Union Genot, delegate Alain from EMI, who denounces a social plan fifth in eight years, "the arrival of digital was not sufficiently early". No conversion plan was set up in the low social culture companies. "They prefer to pay for large severance benefits than to the training," says Alain Genot. For Hervé Rony, Delegate General of the SNEP, the Union of employers of phonographic editions, these changes have had the merit to mature sector: "Paradoxically, the crisis had an interesting impact on social relations with us from our employer responsibility." We have signed a collective agreement, that we had not done until everything was fine. "A joint commission for employment and training has also been implemented in recent months. Initiatives may be a little late.

Distributor, the need to adapt human resources to the new situation has been more early. At the FNAC, a predictive management of jobs and skills (GPEC) agreement to avoid, according to the HRD Philippe Decressac, too severe staff cuts. "Thanks to this plan, there is always under the qualifying trades of the disk, which includes audio and DVD, a thousand people." One hundred people have been transferred on technical products and video games, an activity growing, because there are affinities in terms of skills. "Reclassifications in the online sales, with training for those who accept this turn, have also been made. 400 people working at the Fnac. The leading distributor of disks in France is also working on content and dematerialization, activity for which some 20 engineers project have been recruited.

New entrants

"We will continue the GPEC, even if claims of FNAC HRD, the disk remains a key element of the visit in the store." The challenge for these large generalist signs, in a bleak context where the turnover of disk vendors is very important, is to keep the skill and the level of expertise expected by clients remained attached to the purchase of CD.

Remains that today ' hui music is consumed now more and more on other media: Internet, mobile phone... Telephone operators or Internet access providers have so, in recent years, a resounding entry into the world of the music industry. "These new players are looking for specific skills and them poach there where they are, i.e. mainly in labels", explains Borey Sok.

At Orange, music has become a key activity for which some 50 people have been hired. A figure that is expected to grow rapidly. "40 of clients who have a mobile capable to read and download music do so." "Need to be able to put music in all our terminals", explains Olivier Barberot HRD. "We recruit officials partnerships, professionals able to negotiate with the record labels." "Some 20 people were thus recruited for this function these eighteen months", he said. In agreement with his record label, the last disc of Madonna was available 15 days before its release for Orange customers. "The company has also recruited"service designers", from marketing, with a good knowledge of the technical constraints to identify new services expect clients", continues Olivier Barberot. Ergonomists team is also responsible for studying the best ways of navigation to find pieces on his mobile. Finally, to be complete, the operator was a team of programming and editorial animation. Of good connoisseurs of music sometimes from the music press.

For employees in the sector, the future is written, because the transformation is just beginning. "I do things I would have not even had the idea two years ago, recognizes Jean-Philippe Delannoy, trade in Universal representative.". The evidence: even recently was a special operation on vinyl!