Amid economic woes, stagnant growth, and a management shakeup, onetime social-networking pioneer MySpace has announced that it has cut its head count by slightly under 30 percent in what the company calls a "return to start-up culture." Well, that's a nice way to put it.
Reportsthat MySpace would be laying off nearly half its employees in a move that had delayed its relocation to a bigger office space in the Los Angeles area. With the layoffs, MySpace's full-time U.S. employee roster will be down to 1,000 people--which means somewhere just south of 500 jobs were cut.
MySpace said that the layoffs are evenly distributed across all U.S. divisions of the company. Since MySpace also operates a number of offices overseas, it's not yet clear how they were affected (if at all), and representatives declined comment as to whether international offices would be affected down the road. CNET News has heard rumors that there may be consolidation in some of MySpace's European offices,when it merged its Amsterdam and Berlin offices.
"Today the domestic restructure is the only info we can share," a MySpace representative said in a phone call Tuesday.
Owen Van Natta, CEO of the News Corp.-owned social site, said in a release: "Simply put, our staffing levels were bloated and hindered our ability to be an efficient and nimble team-oriented company. I understand that these changes are painful for many. They are also necessary for the long-term health and culture of MySpace. Our intent is to return to an environment of innovation that is centered on our user and our product."
Van Natta, the former chief operating officer at Facebook,after a short stint at the head of start-up Project Playlist. Former CEO Chris DeWolfe had , reportedly at the behest of Jonathan Miller, the new digital czar at News Corp. Executive shakeups at MySpace at that point.
MySpace's new executive lineup gives it solid entertainment street cred:by former MTV digital exec Jason Hirschhorn and former AOLer Michael Jones. Late last year, another MTV digital-media executive, Courtney Holt, as the head of its new MySpace Music division.
A source with knowledge of the situation said that senior management was spared Tuesday's cuts.
Launching MySpace Music, which focuses on free streaming music supported by advertising, was a return to the company's roots: once a hub for indie band promotion and community, MySpace had grown massivein international and then U.S. traffic. and a prominent endorsement of the OpenSocial developer initiative didn't help it regain traction as a networking destination.
Holtthat MySpace Music's traffic was "huge." But record label executives--who are partners in the MySpace Music joint venture-- with the revenue it was generating.
Last update at 11:56 a.m. PT.