Sony is now a classical joke

Sony is now a classical joke


norman lebrecht

February 10, 2020

From the composer John Adams, referring to the label’s weekend howler:


Still no regrets from Sony.

Never too late, chaps.


And here’s another.


  • And there was this one this morning:

    And, as Sony Classical would say, “Happy Birthday to the composer John Adams, who not only wrote ‘Nixon in China’ and ‘Become Ocean’ but was also our second president!”

  • Byrwec Ellison says:

    It’s a given that if the guitarist lives to be 99, page A-1 of half the newspapers in the world will lead with the headline, “Composer of ‘Star Wars’ Dead at 99”

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    Regrets? The room-temperature I.Q. morons that staff Sony Classical aren’t even bright enough to comprehend the seriousness of this incredible gaffe. They’ll just wipe the egg off their faces and proceed to make more gaffes. When Sony Classical merged with BMG-RCA, they merely demonstrated that stupid+stupid=stupid. But tragically, they are in charge of the world’s most valuable catalog of recordings…

  • CGDA says:

    Berio was a composer of many 20th century masterpieces, but his main occupation was that of an oil company CEO.

  • Brettermeier says:

    “Still no regrets from Sony.”

    Delete and deny.

  • Stuart L. says:

    What all this tells me is that ‘Classical Music’ is now a niche pastime and that Sony Classical is not part of that niche.

  • We privatize your value says:

    Wow, what a narcissist Adams is, could there be a more unpleasant way to say “I exist, I am funny, and I am famous, too”? And spare us the Klinghoffer jokes, they are already on us.

    • Pianist envy says:


      • We privatize your value says:

        Not jealous – I am not a composer. I just happen to dislike people who take their kick out of offending Jews, repeatedly.

        • Jonisha Jones says:

          Jews need to stop offending other races as well.

          History should have taught them NUMEROUS lessons about tolerance and diversity by now.

          Walling yourselves off in the name of white supremacy while being perpetually ‘highly offended’ no longer impresses anyone. Opening your minds and say, including black people in your segregated neighborhoods and schools would be a beautiful thing.

          • Araragi says:

            I’m pretty sure a Jew would not do anything in the name of “white supremacy” given that white supremacists don’t have such a high opinion of Jews either. You might do well to educate yourself about black people in Israel:

          • David says:

            Here are some educational links for you to study.

            The Nation

            BBC News Africa

            Financial Times

          • Araragi says:


            Your links are not germane to the issue. Your links discuss Israel’s issue with illegal immigration, an issue nearly every country in the world deals with. It’s certainly fine to criticise Israel’s policy with regard to illegal immigration. But singling out Israel for such policy, or holding them to a higher standard than you do Europe or America, is treading perilously close to anti-semitism.

          • David says:

            From your source Araragi,

            “Aftermath: Socio-economic strife

            Nevertheless, the fact that the younger generations of Ethiopian Israelites, who have grown up and been educated in Israel and possess graduate degrees and more forms of formal training, still have a disproportionate amount of trouble finding work suggests that other factors may be at play, including potential racial or even religious bias, given that there has been debate over whether or not Ethiopian Jews should be considered Jewish in the first place.” which reinforced the links be they legal or ‘undocumented’. They ended up unwanted…

            Jews clearly continue to want a pure race keeping in ‘character’ with their RELIGIOUS principles. Hence the constant wars, conflicts, walls and DISCRIMINATION against all others. Further, WHITE MEN continue to occupy the highest levels of government and segregate THEIR OWN women from prayers. Indeed only recently were women permitted by men to drive. They remain segregated ‘by genetic sex’ (unlike the US Democrat version) and there was a lawsuit filed last year to that effect.

            It remains a purist, White male dominated environment!

  • Peter says:

    Aren’t there more important things to get exercised about ?

  • We privatize your value says:

    Never forget: “Indeed, Sellars, who had had the original idea to make an opera about Klinghoffer’s murder, thought Goodman was too hard on the hijackers. “John did, too,” recalls Goodman. “I said, ‘They’re not Smurfs!'””

  • M2N2K says:

    Wait a minute John (the Luther-less one) Adams, you got me all confused now… Are you saying that Nixon (who was in China once) was our second president or that he was our second worst president?

  • Masterwork says:

    The joke has been going on for a very long time already. Just look at the senior management that has been recently put in place, all veterans of the sinking ship and all without a clue about the music that they have responsibility for. None have any musical background to be able to know why artist ‘A’ is more interesting and will deliver quality, as opposed to artist ‘B’. The Sony Classical technique has been and is based on other non-musical criteria, age, look, sex appeal, etc., all factors that will not leave anything to remember or worth remembering now or in the future. So nobody should imagine that they are creating any legacies or any significant back catalogue that would be of interest in 5, 10, 25 or 100 years. Just a group of bean counting suits, trying to behave “cool”, raking in big paychecks and contributing to the demise of what was once a decent label with many legacies on their roster: Horowitz, Bernstein, Szell, Gould, Serkin, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Placido Domingo and many, many others.
    Today, with the people who are in charge there Sony Classical is truly a “joke” and the stupid mistakes that were recently made are just revelatory of what is the general level of awareness and competence…0%!

  • Tom says:

    John Williams is one of many extremely talented guitarists. Every instrument has its great talents. It’s important not to focus on any individual because today a particular instrument is popular. In the 1700’s piano was the instrument of choice.

  • sorin braun says:

    all classical labels have become a joke : Lewandowski hahaha , Norwegian film music …
    and again remasterings….
    Classical repertory is extremely small some 10 beethovens and 3 mozarts and a few bach excerpts and 76 miscellaneous and you sum it up.that’s the truth.

  • Jean says:

    Somehow reminds me of the famous Soviet WW2 radio program in 1940 which commented on Sibelius: “I wonder what the composer would say if he was still alive?”

  • ...... says:

    What would classical music fandom be without regular little orgies of condescension…

  • sam says:

    The truly sad part is this: classical music needs Sony more than Sony needs classical music.

  • John Porter says:

    Is anyone really surprised by any of this.SONY classical has been a dead letter for a long time now. Just compare it to Nonesuch, that’s all you need to do to see that it is a dead label and has been for many years.