Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Man Who Sold New Age Music

Remember Windham Hill? It was the preeminent New Age label back in the 80’s and 90’s. And Will Ackerman, former CEO of the first (and best) label for New Age music sold his beloved Windham Hill to BMG. And now, Sony owns it.

Ackerman made a lot of money off the deal. Many millions. But he also made good money (I hope) as CEO of Windham Hill. Which makes me wonder. ..

I wonder why someone who was so passionate about a style of music he literally coined, would sell the label - and along with it, pretty much the entire genre of New Age music.

You see, Windham Hill was a very respected label in the 1980‘s. Ackerman even signed George Winston - and we all know how successful he is. So why would someone abandon a growing genre of music?

According to Ackerman, he was overwhelmed with the administrative details. Understandable. Most ‘artistic types’ and Ackerman’s one of them, don’t like to attend to minutiae.

But why sell something you’ve worked so long and hard for to a conglomerate who not only failed to grow the genre of New Age music, but pretty much buried it and condemned it to an uncertain death?

Why not hand over the reins to someone who could grow and expand this beautiful, healing, and heartfelt style of music the world really hasn’t seen since classical impressionism?

It saddens and angers me when something like this happens.

I place the blame with Ackerman. Sure, he’s entitled to do what he wants and can sell and buy as his heart pleases. But when he sold Windham Hill, he also sold the idea of New Age music as something ‘not worthy’ of attention. Something that could be cast aside and bought out.

New Age music deserves better. Much better. I hope to change this as I write more and more about the genre of music that I love so much.


  1. Anonymous9:25 AM

    wow, i remember listing to my dads windham hill samplers, on vinyl, when i was a kid. awsome artists like Alex Degrassi, Manheim Steamroller, and of course Yani. such great music

  2. Windham Hill was a very fine label propelling real fine artists, there were some other great labels of New-Age music I remember, and still have dozen of CD's from, Narada with fine pianists also like David Lanz, Michael Gettel, Wayne Gratz, Ira Stein or Micheal Jones and then were also Private music with Patrick O'hearn, Suzanne Ciani or Eddie Jobson, all sold? I am maybe one of the few here in France who remember them, I hope not so much. Markus