The big question for Morris is, does he want one more turn at bat to add to one of the league’s all-time best career averages?

SONY MUSIC: WHAT’S NEXT?

Weiss and Schmidt-Holtz’s Exits Mean the End
of an Error in Ill-Fated Merger with BMG

The imminent exit of Rolf Schmidt-Holtz from Sony Music marks the end of one of the longest-running mismatches of music cultures in the modern era.

The merger between Sony and BMG brought together some of the great record business characters in a classic drama that lasted almost a decade—including such notables as Andy Lack, Don Ienner, Clive Davis, Michele Anthony, Charles Goldstuck, Steve Barnett, Rob Stringer and Barry Weiss.

Leave it to the pundits to ponder why the pairing never worked. Most notable was unquestionably the absence of leadership with a clue to what and who makes the music business happen. Through their stumbling and bumbling, Lack and Schmidt-Holtz proceeded to torch what on paper seemed a sound idea.

With Bertie holdover Weiss leaving and Schmidt-Holtz on his way out, how does the Sony Music brain trust go about rebuilding the company around a still-formidable artist roster that includes the likes of Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Kings of Leon, Ke$ha, Justin Timberlake, Pink, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Sade, Neil Diamond, Susan Boyle, AC/DC and Adele, not to mention the formidable Simon Cowell and Glee franchises?

Under Stringer and Barnett, Columbia will be the #1 label this year in terms of marketshare both in new releases and overall, sporting four of the Top 5 on this week’s HITS Album sales chart.

Sony is fortunate to be in position to hire one of the great record men of the modern era to head the company’s efforts in Doug Morris, who revived the MCA record group, then succeeded in merging the hugely successful European company Polygram with its strong U.S. base to forge the unparalleled success of UMG, the industry’s unchallenged leader.

The big question for Morris is, does he want one more turn at bat to add to one of the league’s all-time best career averages? Observers believe he does and will bring with him his great talent for knowing how to manage successful, ego-driven, highly paid executives—the industry’s rainmakers—better than anyone else.


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