More fuel to the “Is YouTube a terrible thing and actually an unsustainable business?” debate that the music industry is currently tying itself in knots over.
Maker Studios is cutting its workforce – reported to be affecting “less than 30 people”. Maker Studios was founded in 2009 and is one of the biggest MCNs working with YouTube. It was acquired by Disney in 2014 and became a subsidiary of Disney Consumer Products and the Disney Interactive division of The Walt Disney Company at the end of 2015. Music Ally readers will probably most commonly associate it with huge YouTube stars such as PewDiePie (who has a staggering 47m subscribers to his channel). Maker, while not confirming how many staff were being laid off or in which departments, issued a statement that talked about how it is “constantly evolving” and making “some strategic adjustments”. It also said that redundancies were happening in certain (unnamed) parts of the company, but that others were “still actively hiring”. Maker is a huge player in the space and its acquisition by a major media corporation (Disney) was seen as a sign of the times – how smart upstarts were being bought up by incumbents keen to keep themselves in the game. Without actually knowing what areas of the company are being cut back on, it is difficult to tell what the overall health report is for it in particular and MCNs in general. But it will still be read as a bellwether for YouTube on a macro level.