Sony snaps up Vienna Philharmonic
August 31, 2010 by Norman Lebrecht
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s Day concert is one of the most watched classical events on world television. Sony today snapped up world rights from 2012 on as a token of its renewed commitement ot classical music.
Or is it? The annual surfeit of Strauss waltzes is chiefly popular in Japan, South Korea and neighbouring Asian economies. It has little popular appeal in the US and is in evident decline in Europe. Even stuffed with turkey, carp and other seasonal fattenings, how many Strausses can the average citizen watch before screaming for an end to the waltzer torture?
Sony’s rivals at Universal Music need not lose much sleep. The last time Sony did a deal with the Vienna Philharmonic 20 years ago it nearly bankrupted the label, putting it into creative somnolence until some recent twitchings of residual life.
The press release shows four contract signatories, only one of whom can successfully knot a tie.
Sony Music is the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Partner for the New Year’s Concert
NEW YORK, Aug. 31 The Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concerts are the world’s most watched classical events. Starting in January 2012, the concert recordings will appear on Sony Classical. The contract, signed last week in Salzburg, encompasses releases on CD, DVD and Blu-ray.
The New Year’s Concert is broadcast from Vienna‘s Musikverein to over 70 countries and reaches more than 40 million television viewers. The resulting recordings with works from the Strauss dynasty and their contemporaries are among the classical market’s most important releases.
Prof. Dr. Clemens Hellsberg, Chairman, Vienna Philharmonic:
“The Vienna Philharmonic is delighted to have found in Sony another prominent partner for our audio and video recordings. We are confident that the New Year’s Concert will be enjoyed by an even wider audience thanks to our collaboration with Sony.”
Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, CEO, Sony Music Entertainment:
“For millions of people, the New Year’s Concert is an inspiring way to begin the year; it expresses a universal message of hope and friendship for the year to come. The Vienna Philharmonic devotes itself to the Strauss family’s masterpieces and always presents the world with audio and video recordings of great beauty and enormous appeal. Sony Music is proud to be the orchestra’s new partner for these remarkable releases.”
Bogdan Roscic, President, Sony Classical:
“Sony Classical’s catalogue already contains some legendary New Year’s Concerts, including the famous video of Karajan’s only appearance in 1987 and the unforgettable audio recordings documenting Carlos Kleiber‘s two concerts. I look forward to continuing this tradition and also to ensuring that these recordings attain the success they deserve in all markets.”
About Sony Classical:
Sony Classical is the label group in charge of classical music within Sony Music Entertainment, based in New York and Berlin and responsible for the international productions of Sony Classical, RCA Red Seal and Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, as well as a vast catalogue that goes back to Enrico Caruso. Sony Classical is the home of artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Lang Lang, Joshua Bell, Murray Perahia and Vittorio Grigolo, as well as containing the musical legacy of Glenn Gould, Arthur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Arturo Toscanini and Leonard Bernstein.
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