Sunday, April 24, 2011

Businessobit: Norio Ohga

Former head of Sony, Norio Ohga, has died.

Ohga's time at the head of Sony saw him take two decisions which, for good or ill, would shape the music industry for twenty years.

He threw the company's weight behind the development of the Compact Disc - which was important - but he also led Sony from being focused on being an electronics company into one that would be an entertainment company. Sony had been running a joint venture with CBS for twenty years, but in 1987 Ohga's company would buy CBS' music business outright. Ohga was still at the top when the renamed CBS arm, Sony Music Entertainment, merged with Bertelsmann's group to create the massive-major Sony BMG.

Ohga is the man who, in what might be a bit of an urban myth, persuaded the Sony-Philips team that CDs should be twelve centimetres across, in order to accommodate the full 75 minutes of Beethoven's Ninth.

Norio Ohga, who was 81, died from massive organ failure.