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News February 9, 2024

Matthew Capper to Exit Warner Chappell Amid WMG Cuts (EXCLUSIVE)

Senior Journalist, B2B
Matthew Capper to Exit Warner Chappell Amid WMG Cuts (EXCLUSIVE)

Warner Chappell Music Australia managing director Matthew Capper will depart from the music publishing giant later this month, sources tell The Music Network, as Warner Music Group (WMG) applies cuts to its company-wide workforce.

News of Capper’s exit from Warner Chappell (WC) is a shock, coming down the grapevine in a week that WMG reported quarterly revenue reached a record $1.75 billion from October through December, including best-ever results for its publishing division.

Capper is a WC stalwart, boasting 20-plus years with the company serving in various capacities. Additionally, he is non-executive director of APRA and AMCOS, deputy chair of AMCOS, chair and non-executive director of publishers trade association AMPAL, and treasurer and non-executive director of ICMP.

On his election to the board of APRA in 2007, he become the youngest-ever director of the authors’ rights society, aged 30. That record has yet to be broken. 

Capper started his publishing career at Festival Music Publishing in 1999. Later, in 2003, he joined Warner Chappell, initially as a copyright/royalty analyst, and became general manager the following year.

Capper’s ascent was complete when he was named as managing director in 2010. That promotion, read a statement announcing it, was recognition of his “achievements in enhancing the company’s position in the region.”

At Warner Chappell, Capper is responsible for the representation of a broad range of songwriters and music catalogues, from Little River Band, to Australian Crawl, Ray Charles, Radiohead, Madonna, Morgan Evans and many more.

His last day at WC is Feb. 29, 2024 sources say.

WMG has not commented on Capper’s exit.

On Wednesday, WMG announced a 17.5% gain in its quarterly result from the prior-year quarter (up 15.9% at constant currency).

Soon after WMG released the quarter’s results on Wednesday, reports emerged that the music major would eliminate its staff by 10% on a global basis, or roughly 600 employees, primarily through the sale of owned and operated media companies such as Uproxx and HipHopDX.

By swinging the axe, WMG’s CEO Robert Kyncl wrote in a memo to staff, seen by Billboard, $200 million in cost savings would be achieved by the end of September 2025.

Some of those laid off have already begun to be informed, Kyncl wrote, while the “vast majority” will be notified “by the end of September 2024.”

Capper is the highest-ranked casualty from those cuts in Australasia.

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