Sony BMG Dumps Executives Within Classical Division
Sony BMG has recently downsized several executives within its Masterworks classical division. The downsizing included label president Gilbert Hetherwick and a group of vice presidents, directors, and assistants. The Masterworks division includes Sony Classical, Columbia Masterworks, BMG Classics, RCA Red Seal, and Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. According to a label statement, Masterworks will be folded into the Commercial Music Group, part of a cost-cutting realignment designed to adapt to the “new realities of reaching the classical music consumer.”
According to industry sources, those dismissed from the division include Gilbert Hetherwick, president; Debbi Surdi, VP of classical A&R; Michelle Errante, VP of product management; Warren Wernick, director of catalog development; Paul Cremo, VP for soundtracks and Broadway; Tammy Van Aken, editorial assistant; and Amy Zaboroski, executive assistant. Running Sony BMG Masterworks now will be Alex Miller, senior VP of marketing. Also still in place is David Lai, senior VP of A&R.
Classical music is a unique niche, both in terms of its culture, history and listener profile. The typical classical music aficionado is older and wealthier, but like other genres, classical has been combating a migration away from physical formats. Regardless, a big part of the action has shifted towards paid digital markets, and that has stirred companies like eMusic, Naxos, Fortuna, and several others. Meanwhile, the changes are coming on the heels of the highly symbolic shutdown of Tower Records, which resulted in a small sales staff reduction at Sony BMG.