Sony MasterworksSony Music Masterworks (better known as Sony Masterworks) is a record label, the result of a restructuring of Sony Music's classical music division. Before the acquisition of Bertelsmann's shares in the former Sony BMG, the label was known as Sony BMG Masterworks.
Its formation marked the merger of the Sony Classical and BMG Classics (including RCA Red Seal) product lines. Gilbert Hetherwick was the president of the label from January 2005 through November 2006, displacing Peter Gelb who was the head of Sony Classical before the merger. Hetherwick claimed (as of 2005) the label may reissue between one hundred and two hundred historical recordings per year. Hetherwick left in November 2006, to be replaced by Alex Miller, a former BMG Employee.
The label owns rights to famous recordings originally issued by the Victor Talking Machine Company/RCA Victor dating from the early to mid 20th century, by artists such as Enrico Caruso, Arturo Toscanini, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leopold Stokowski, Mario Lanza, Fritz Reiner, Artur Rubinstein, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Vladimir Horowitz, Eugene Ormandy and Van Cliburn as well as from more recent performers such as Yo-Yo Ma, and Joshua Bell. It is also responsible for Sony BMG's immense archives of film scores (including Star Wars, The Phantom of the Opera, Memoirs of a Geisha and many other films). It also maintains the archive of theater soundtracks, via its Masterworks Broadway imprint. It also issues jazz recordings through its Okeh Records imprint. Sony Masterworks also handles the Portrait Records and Flying Buddha Records imprints. In July 2019, Masterworks acquired the soundtrack label Milan Records.
The merged label's name echoes the moniker used by Sony Classical's predecessor, Columbia Masterworks (later CBS Masterworks). The label's name was changed after CBS sold its records division to Sony in the late 1980s. Sony Masterworks has several imprints, used primarily for newer recorded material for its imprints itself and compilations and reissues for its imprints in conjunction with Legacy Recordings.