Country Music Hall of Fame Lays Off Large Number of Employees
Photo: Eric England
The leaders of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum have made deep personnel cuts at the downtown facility, which has been closed since mid-March and will remain so for at least another month.
Dozens of the museum’s employees have been either laid off or furloughed, effective June 18. Sources say the number of people affected totals about 170 — nearly half of the roughly 400 who work at the museum and its related operations.
In a statement, CEO Kyle Young said the move — which echoes so many others in Nashville’s tourism and hospitality sector, whose labor force was cut in half in April — was made necessary by “a challenging business environment unprecedented in the museum’s history.”
“Since closing March 13, the museum has lost millions of dollars in budgeted revenue,” Young said. “Our economic setbacks, coupled with the uncertainties of the future related to the pandemic, make it necessary to take these measures now to protect the institution and ensure its future.”
The hall of fame rang up revenues of $40.7 million in 2018, with three-quarters of that coming from admissions (more than $18.4 million), catering ($8.1 million) and events (nearly $5.5 million). All those sources of funds have dried up since the COVID-19 pandemic led city leaders to declare a public health emergency 11 weeks ago. On the expense side, the hall of fame spent more than $16.1 million on salaries and benefits in 2018, when it finished the year with about $10 million in cash on its balance sheet.
Young and his team earlier this week said the museum and its ancillary properties — Hatch Show Print, Historic RCA Studio B, the CMA Theater and the Taylor Swift Education Center — would stay closed through June 30.