December 03, 2014

Erato named Label of the Year in Classica's 'Choc de l'Année' Awards

Warner Classics & Erato president Alain Lanceron's speech from the awards ceremony last night at Paris' Salle Pleyel.

Thank you to Classica for this Choc de l'Année ‘Label of the Year’ award that goes straight to my heart and takes on, in this year of new beginnings for Erato, a very special significance.

I'm not going to rehash the vagaries that led EMI to Warner via Universal; that would be too fastidious, and these developments have been widely covered in the media every step of the way.

Suffice to say that along the journey from Virgin Classics to Erato, our label weathered many storms before we were taken under Warner’s wing. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank all the label's artists for their abiding faith in us, their unconditional support, their unshakeable friendship. In these moments of trouble and doubt, not one of them considered abandoning ship; on the contrary, all stuck by us in solidarity; today they embrace being Erato artists with an enthusiasm that warms our hearts. This is why I wish to dedicate this Choc de l'Année above all to them.

In a market that has in France lost more than three quarters of its value over the past 16 years; in a period of transition that is moving away from the era of physical products but that is not yet; at least for classical, entirely a digital era; in a time where we observe labels that were flourishing not long ago now facing major economic strife, it's not always easy to uphold an optimistic outlook every day.

It is, however, exactly what my team strives to do; a diverse but close-knit and passionate team, and it is to my colleagues that I also wish to dedicate this Choc, thanking them for their dedication, professionalism and energy.

But there is more: with our new structure, we have inherited half a century of exceptional creativity in Erato’s prestigious historic catalogue, built up day after day by our predecessors until the label was scandalously shut down by former decision-makers at Warner who, I might add, are no longer affiliated with the company today. This Choc de l'Année is therefore in some way a ‘sweet revenge’ coming full circle; a seminal label risen from the ashes, enriched with new blood from Virgin Classics.

Today my thoughts are also with those who have served Erato since Philippe Loury founded the label in 1953. And in particular I want to pay tribute to man whose name is synonymous with the Erato: I'm speaking of course about its longtime artistic director, the late Michel Garcin. It is therefore to him, last but not least, that I dedicate this Choc de l'Année.