Label blues: Warner very slowly signs young Brit

Label blues: Warner very slowly signs young Brit


norman lebrecht

January 31, 2019

Martin James Bartlett won BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2014.

Yesterday, aged 22, he was signed by Warner Classics.



  • Howard Manchester says:

    The header says, “Warner…Sign(s) Young Brit”. I have been told by many in the business that Warner Classics, with a few exceptions, don’t really sign artists anymore, in the traditional way that would imply that they engage and pay for recording the artist, editing the master, all photo material, promo, advertising, etc. In other words, they don’t make any significant investment in the artist or their career, with most of the financial risk borne by the artist. In the majority of cases, the artist, or their sponsor, is made to pay for everything: the recording, the editing, the photo shoots, the marketing, etc. They just make a distribution deal with Warner for a certain period and then marketing is done ad hoc on a country by country basis, with no centralized global strategy of artist development. They seem to believe that the Warner name can be exploited in this way, with no commitments. This is sadly a very short-term philosophy and one that will never build artist nor brand identity. Warner Classics is a sad sign of non-commitment and no real long-term artist or label strategy.

  • Ravi Narasimhan says:

    Here he is circa 2016, taking a Masterclass on the Schubert Op. 90 Impromptu No. 2 from Andras Schiff. I’ve studied the video carefully many times, including freeze-frame and super slow-motion, and it still hasn’t improved my ability to play the piece. 😉

    • DecaniBass says:

      ‘Let the music move…’ Absolutely! His rocking is very distracting from the music…

      • Ravi Narasimhan says:

        True but I thought he took it well (twice) under the circumstances. The two seemed to get on quite well together.

    • Harrumph says:

      Very chaste and boring playing and a practice tempo, totally devoid of the spontaneous charm, the leggierezza, the fleet improvisatory character that this piece requires to save it from sounding like an exercise. And all that mantling and affected Glenn Gouldism only makes it worse.

  • Disappointed says:

    This is very unfortunate to have such an immature arrogant artist part of such a distinguished recording label. Surely there are far more deserving, (non BBC Young Musician monkeys) out there, who don’t deface or get in the way of the music by their over the top theatrical posing gestures?
    This pianist is a one trick pony. I for one, will not subscribe to Warner anymore….