Sony’s content v. consumer electronics schizophrenia is not directly cited in this tale, but I am confident it played a role in Lack’s downfall: Behind the Music: How a Sony-BMG Feud Went Public
“It’s the subtleties of this business that can kill you,” said Jay L. Cooper, a longtime Los Angeles music attorney. “I’ve seen some of the best and the brightest come into this business and be destroyed by it because they don’t understand.”
Further, Mr. Cooper said, “If you don’t have the confidence and the respect of the people that are working for you, you’ve got a real problem.”
[…] Mr. Lack and his team presided over an estimated $400 million in cost cuts, which included cutting 2,000 people from the payroll. Sony BMG’s sheer scale promised to give Mr. Lack more muscle to establish new standards in the industry, which has been desperately trying to reinvent itself in the era of file-swapping, CD-burning and iPods. But it also gave birth to an in-house rivalry — and not the friendly kind — between Sony’s labels and BMG’s.
[…] Even some critics found him refreshingly candid. Indeed, one curiosity of the internal discontent with Mr. Lack was that many of his critics agreed with his positions, for example, that the company should do more to use its music videos and other visual content to generate new revenue. Many also supported his stance that Apple Computer’s iTunes music service should sell songs for a range of prices instead of its flat rate of 99 cents a song.
Being right, however, did not translate into respect.
And beneath the surface, some executives who worked with Mr. Lack even before the merger found his style less than inspiring.
“It was very difficult for him to approach any situation without assuming that whatever the ‘record guys’ were doing was wrong,” said Rick Dobbis, who was president of Sony Music’s international arm before being squeezed out in the merger, and is now a manager and industry consultant. “It was difficult to believe that you would get support for your ideas.”