Norio Ohga, who was instrumental in bringing the world the compact disc and the PlayStation and is credited with building Sony into a global electronics and entertainment group, has died of organ failure aged 81.
“It is no exaggeration to attribute Sony’s evolution beyond audio and video products into music, movies and games, and subsequent transformation into a global entertainment leader to Ohga-san’s foresight and vision,” Howard Stringer, Sony’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.
“By redefining Sony as a company encompassing both hardware and software, Ohga-san succeeded where other Japanese companies failed,” Mr Stringer said.
A musician by training, who was a close friend of Austrian conductor, Herbert von Karayan, Mr Ohga led Sony during perhaps its most successful years, as president from 1982 until 1995, when the Japanese electronics maker became one of the most admired companies in the world.
It was under Mr Ohga that the name Sony came to symbolise Japanese manufacturing excellence and to define what was “cool” in the world of electronics – an image encapsulated in the catchphrase, “It’s a Sony.”
If we needed evidence that electronic dance music is a force in pop culture, last weekend’s Ultra Music Festival held downtown here provided it. Some 150,000 tickets were sold to the three-day event–about equal to the total for last year’s Coachella Music & Arts Festival in the desert town of Indio, Calif., and about twice the number for June’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.
Whereas Coachella 2011, next month, will feature Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Kings of Leon and the Strokes as its rock and pop headliners, and Bonnaroo will offer Eminem, Robert Plant & Band of Joy and a reunited Buffalo Springfield (as well as Arcade Fire and the Strokes), the biggest name at Ultra Music–at least to a mainstream audience–was Duran Duran, which was here to promote its new album. But traditional measurements for rock-and-pop success are irrelevant in the electronic-dance culture. Witness Tiësto, the stage name of the Dutch disc jockey, producer and composer Tijs Michiel Verwest, the headliner on Friday, Ultra’s opening night. Though he’s never had a crossover radio hit and his solo albums sell modestly, Tiësto is a major international star, as confirmed by one familiar evaluation: His annual income apparently exceeds $20 million.