Breaking: Major label drops its boss

Breaking: Major label drops its boss


norman lebrecht

November 08, 2011

Ever since Chris Roberts was fired as head of Universal Classics & Jazz exactly a year ago, the clock has been ticking loud for his placeman, Michael Lang.

Roberts flew in Lang from a US jazz label in 2001 to be head of Deutsche Grammophon. As was his way, the main idea was to annoy the Germans.

It hardly mattered that Lang spoke little German. He hardly spoke to anyone.

When Roberts went, they couldn’t fire Lang because he was tangled up in a dodgy effort to merge the label with HarrisonParrott agency. Once that deal aborted, they waited a decent interval and allowed him to find his own way to the door. Here’s the staff message that went out today.

If I were a DG artist, I’d call my next album Insincerity.

(the smaller guy is pianist Ingolf Wunder)

November 8, 2011





I regret to tell you that, after 10 years of leadership of Deutsche Grammophon, Michael Lang has decided that it is time to make a change:  he intends to step down at the end of this year.

Universal Music has every reason to be grateful to Michael for his stewardship of the world’s longest-standing recording company.  At a time of unprecedented change in the classical music industry, and the wider music business, he has protected and strengthened Deutsche Grammophon’s creative and commercial stature, signed some of the most exciting artists of our time, and been instrumental in the career development of many others.

A new President of the company will be announced shortly.  I am confident that the great DG team, now settled in their new Berlin headquarters, will build on the legacy of the last 10 years.

Join me in thanking Michael Lang for everything that he has contributed to Deutsche Grammophon, and wish him every success in the future.


Frank Briegmann