Reports: Netrebko's agency to be 'reconfigured'

A senior figure at Universal Music has contacted me to contradict my earlier report, based on several sources in Salzburg, that its controversial artists’ agency will be shut down. It will, instead, be ‘reconfigured’. More details here.

The project was always contentious, seducing a pair of ambitious agents with four major stars Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazon, Karita Mattila and Thomas Hampson – to quit IMG and set up shop inside their record store. There were obvious conflicts of interest and Mattila soon quit. The agency, headed by Jeffrey Vanderveen and Manfred Seipt, struggled at attract new talent and an attempt to shore it up by means of a dodgy merger with the London agency Harrison Parrott crashed in flames before the lawyers were finished with the fine print.

Now Universal has finally lost patience with the operation. Vanderveen has approached other agencies to take him on, so far without success. The artists, I hear, have not been told. They are always the last to know.

Anna, Rolando, if you’re reading this: your agent is looking for a bed for the night.

Trebs with King Rollo

Trebs with Vanderveen

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  • Universal is releasing CDs and DVDs on a very small scale, why should they need their own artist agency ???
    This decision never made economical sense, we will not have Maria Callas´ and Pavarotti´s in the future anymore,
    the artists should have an agent representing the artists needs, shaping and guiding careers in a responsible manner, placing them in roles which suit their voices and capabilities, and taking into consideration the stamina of an artist on the stage. Too much and too often is not good, except for the comission fees the agents receive.

  • Maybe this is the start of a bigger shakedown at Universal following the example of EMI’s ousting of Eric Dingman (others to follow?). Independent labels run on lower overheads and the more ambitious ones like Naxos seem quicker getting off the mark with 21st century concepts like their electronic subscription library.

    Glorious pasts are wonderful topics over dinner, but they don’t necessarily pay the rent any more nor justify the superstructure and grandeur big labels insist on retaining. Time to regroup and to rethink, especially here in the UK. Technology is taking the market somewhere the old lags do not really understand – they are happier with menus, wine-lists and flight timetables.

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