Odd goings-on (1): Classical agency to buy share in record label? (update)

Odd goings-on (1): Classical agency to buy share in record label? (update)


norman lebrecht

December 30, 2011

I’m hearing of negotiations between IMG Artists, the ever-turbulent talent agency, and LSO Live, the busy media outlet of the London Symphony Orchestra, for some kind of merger. IMG has a Russian investor, Alexander Shustorovich, who is eager to expand on all fronts. A deal with a record label would make some kind of sense as a way to launch new artists and keep the older ones in work.

UPDATE: LSO LIve have contacted me to say that a merger or buyout is not on the cards, but they are happy to help others – orchestras, artists (even agencies) to set up an own-label operation.

I’m also hearing that some IMG artists are being gently pushed into packages with LSO Live in preference to offers from major and independent labels. If this were the case, it would be a flagrant conflict of interest on the agency’s part and a breach of its fiduciary duty towards individual clients. If IMG want to go into the record business, that’s fine. But they must take care not to cross that line.

UPDATE: LSO Live insist they know nothing of such pressure.

Meantime, I hear Mr Shustorovich is casting an acquisitive eye at other labels.

Someone, if only Slipped Disc, has to keep an eye on the artists’ best interests.



  • John Bendingham says:

    frankly, IMG Artists was trying to help a fellow artist friend to release an album that was recorded with the LSO that
    they weren’t planning on releasing (nor was anyone else). Whats wrong with that? I think the agency just sees
    releasing these recordings as a way to help the artist. How an it be a conflict of interest if there isn’t any money in it?
    We are beating a dead drum here. How long is it going to take to realize there is no money in classical music recordings. If there isn’t any money, then whats the conflict? Even the biggest artists today arent’ getting the things
    done that they want, so if their agency wants to help, there is nothing wrong with it as long as someone else isn’t
    offering a better deal. I hear that Shustorovich is extremely tough, but also very even handed, fair and transparent.
    I woudln’t expect any Universal/Vanderveen/CAMI trickets out of him.