Yesterday's startling report that Sony BMG Masterworks has, for all practical purposes, ceased to exist (my own words, not the words of the reporting article) is most alarming.
And what, you may ask, is so alarming?
Certainly not this:
[T]he classical recording business has just suffered another seismic blow, one that may further hasten the obsolescence of the CD format and of record retailing in general.
Running Sony BMG Masterworks now will be Alex Miller, senior VP of marketing.
Coupled with this:
Sony BMG Masterworks encompass[es] Sony Classical, Columbia Masterworks, BMG Classics, RCA Red Seal, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and pretty much every other classical or classical-related label under the legendary companies once known as CBS Records and RCA Records.
[...] Its archives are simply, priceless: the Big Five orchestras of Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland and New York; Enrico Caruso, Leontyne Price; Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Jascha Heifetz, Vladimir Horowitz, Arthur Rubinstein, and many others of their level of artistry.
Just the thought of those priceless archives under control of a marketing suit is genuinely terrifying. A prodigiously well-heeled White Knight is needed here, and quickly, before the pimps get their hooks into those archives, and start selling them off piecemeal to the highest bidders for who knows what commercial, mass-culture purposes (it's too much, I think, to imagine that, say, a Naxos or Hyperion will buy, or even possess the financial wherewithal to buy, those archives in the hope of being able at some distant future, more classical-music-congenial time, profitably turn them to their appropriate and intended use).
Library of Congress, are you listening?