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Red Bull gives music studios the boot, not wings?

Posted on: Monday 20th of July 2020

According to reports from Red Bull insiders plus US and Canadian national newspapers, Red Bull will be closing and/or selling-off its music studios as part of a cutting back of the company’s ties with the entertainment industry. The Wall Street Journal reported: “The maker of Red Bull energy drinks has replaced its top US executives amid internal tensions over the closely held company’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement.” The cutback on music studios seems to be associated with an internal upheaval concerning this issue.

 

Red Bull currently runs 11 studios in locations such as New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Auckland, Cape Town, Sao Paulo, Tokyo and Paris. According to the WSJ, the closure of Red Bull’s studios and curtailment of music activity follows internal tension at the company caused by its reaction to the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

 

A leaked internal Red Bull “racist slide” (according to the New York Post) from a presentation was published by the New York Post on the 17th July, with reports that 300 Red Bull staff had signed a letter protesting the brand’s “public silence” on BLM. Red Bull has also decided to discontinue much of its culture marketing programs, and the head of global culture marketing, Florian Klaass (responsible for the presentation slide), will leave the company, a Red Bull spokeswoman said.

 

Red Bull has a history of hosting events and publishing content about music and culture. US-based executives believed the company had an obligation to publicly support racial justice because it has benefited from its close association with black culture. Red Bull will in future focus its culture marketing programs on where they make the most impact, the spokeswoman said (according to a report in the Toronto Star).

The energy drink company will continue the Red Bull BC One, a breakdancing competition, Red Bull Dance Your Style street dancing events, and Red Bull Batalla de los Gallos, a rap competition for Spanish speakers.

Red Bull was founded in 1987 by Dietrich Mateschitz, who remains its CEO. The Austrian billionaire built a global beverage business with more than 12,000 employees and nearly $7 billion in 2019 sales. He has also assembled a sports and media empire. Last year, the firm ran its own music festival in London throughout August and September, which saw performances from over 100 artists. It also ran music festivals in Los Angeles and New York earlier in 2019. The company owns professional soccer teams in the US and Europe and sponsors Nascar and Formula 1 teams.



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