Veteran exec leaves Warner Classics

Veteran exec leaves Warner Classics


norman lebrecht

August 05, 2014

Stefan Bown, the general manager, has sent a note around the business saying he has left.

Stefan was in charge of classical releases and backlist, working to chief exec John Kelleher.

The label is nowhere near finding a role and an identity in a shrinking market.



  • suzanne says:

    Stefan was a great guy. Sorry to learn that he is out.

  • The Spectator says:

    Bown is one of the best in the business. What were they thinking?

    Joel Cohen

  • musicmuse says:

    What were they thinking? Joel, they don’t think, period. The lawyers, MBA’s & functionaries who run recording companies know nothing about classical music – they’re just egomaniacs on power-trips. The brilliant minds that were fired from their jobs in record companies were terminated by administrative morons who were threatened by the fact that these people actually knew what they were doing, so they thought that by getting rid of the qualified people, their own jobs will be more secure. For this reason, most major recording labels fail every 5 years or so, as the revolving door of fired experts and administrative nincompoops continue to mirror the volatility of that ever-dying industry. The average career-span in classical record companies is 3 to 7 years at most, and if some jealous higher-up hasn’t fired you yet, the company will eventually be bought-out anyway, in which case the new owners will fire you. So, if you currently have a position of authority in a recording company and you are musically knowledgeable, start looking for another career now — because your days are numbered.

    • Former Record Company Executive says:

      Very well said, Musicmuse, so I can only add that those executive nincompoops to whom you refer also get fired in the end, only to be replaced by like-kind. One need only review the classical recording company executives of the 80’s & 90’s — Gunter Breest, Joseph Dash, Michael Emmerson, Christine Reed, Robert Perlstein, Gunter Hensler — all of them at onetime very powerful (and equally incompetent), but now long forgotten. They were all replaced by an endless parade of light-weights (yes, Peter Gelb among them), and the charade continues today — as the late-great recording industry sinks into the sunset…