Sony BMG Spain laid off 52 employees Friday (Dec. 17) as part of its integration process following the merger of the two majors.

Sony BMG Spain laid off 52 employees Friday (Dec. 17) as part of its integration process following the merger of the two majors.

In a brief note distributed to employees and obtained by Billboard.biz, Sony BMG Spain's management blames "rampant physical and Internet piracy" for the cuts. Piracy "has converted the Spanish [music] market into the most punished among developed countries, and is the main cause behind the measures that [the company] is obliged to take," the note says.

Sources say most of the cuts were among back-office staffers, although one unidentified mid-level executive is also among the casualties. It is not known if that executive was from Sony or BMG. Sony BMG Spain chairman Jose Maria Camara was out of Madrid and unavailable for comment.

"The continued fall in sales demands a deep revision of [our] business model to survive in the present and guarantee the future," the note says. It stresses that despite the axed jobs, Sony BMG Spain will still employ more people -- 135 -- than any other record company in the country.