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Beatnik lays off 17 percent of work force

The music company founded by the one-time pop star Thomas Dolby Robertson lets go of 20 employees amid plans to refocus its business strategy.

Beatnik, the music company founded by the former pop star Thomas Dolby Robertson, has laid off 20 employees and plans to refocus its business strategy.

The layoffs come as many dot-coms are cutting their staffs or folding up shop. EMusic.com, for example, laid off 20 percent of its staff last week as a cost-saving measure.

Beatnik spokesman Jason Taylor said yesterday the moves do not signal financial difficulties for the company, which received $30 million in financing late last month from investors including MTVi Group and Sun Microsystems.

The company has 100 employees after the layoffs, he said.

The layoffs affected staff in the company's production music library division, among others, Taylor said. The division provides music licensing services. Beatnik will continue to offer the licensing services, Taylor added.

Beatnik issued a statement saying the company plans to focus on two core businesses: selling its Mixman products and licensing its interactive audio technology to Web sites, wireless companies and others.

"It is necessary to further realign, integrate and consolidate activities as appropriate and eliminate investments in efforts that are not central to the company's focus," the statement said.