Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sinfini Music and collateral damage


Seen above is an August 2013 post On An Overgrown Path. Now comes the following news from Norman Lebrecht*: "[Sinfini Music] has told contributors it will cease commissioning new material from the end of this month. Past material will remain online, but we understand from sources within Universal that the site will migrate to Berlin in the New Year to become the English-language component of the Deutsch Grammophon [Lebrecht's misspelling] site. The idea of an independent online classical magazine hosted by Universal [Lebrecht's oxymoron] quietly expired".

Sinfini Music brought native advertising - removal of the crucial Chinese wall between editorial content and advertising - to music journalism. It gave journalists permission to remorselessly promote both corporate and personal interests under the cover of independent writing. And it was a major force in turning music journalism into a cesspit reeking of self-interest. Unlike Sinfini contributors Norman Lebrecht, Jessica Duchen, Paul Morley and others, I was no friend of the website. But I feel no schadenfreude at its demise. Because the collateral damage Sinfini has inflicted on the ethics and standards of music journalism is irreversible.

* This post is based on a single source, Norman Lebrecht's Slipped Disc blog. To maintain some semblance of standards I have made it a rule over the years not to run a story unless it has been corroborated from at least two independent sources. Which is not the case with this post, and so I have compromised my standards. But those standards had to be compromised because a music journalist has become the de facto mouthpiece of Universal Music - Lebrecht's breaking of Sinfini's closure is billed as 'exclusive'. Which is just part of the irreversible collateral damage inflicted by Universal Music on the ethics and standards of music journalism.

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