An agent in denial

An agent in denial


norman lebrecht

June 29, 2014

We hear that Anna Netrebko’s former agent, Jeffrey Vanderveen, is busily assuring people he has no intention of leaving his present job at Opus3 Artists.

Since his denial conflicts with a report we published earlier this month, we had better share Jeffrey’s secret plan, stating the contrary.

vanderveen netrebko



June 9, 2014

Dear Jahm and Daniel,

Re: Playbill Network

Thank you again for our dynamic and productive meeting at your office last week. We are excited to

partner with you to build, market, and manage the new OTT platform for culture and entertainment,

The Playbill Network. You have asked us to create a business plan to outline the various components

of the proposed model, and we have carefully considered what would be required of us in order to

deliver such a plan to you on an expedited basis. We believe a mutual commitment of time, effort, and

resources is integral to progressing this initiative, and we would like to ask you to consider the following


1. We will create a comprehensive business plan for your review which will include a broad

market analysis for content and customer acquisition for The Playbill Network. This analysis

will be based on the work we have completed in connection with the initiatives of Music Media

Enterprises (“MME”) as well as the specific strategies and partnerships (including potential

acquisitions) required to build and launch The Playbill Network.

2. MME will suspend negotiations with all third-party OTT providers for subscription based Audio-
Visual streaming services for a minimum period of 60 days.

3. Najafi Companies will commit to a fee of $35,000 per month payable to MME for our services in

creating the business plan and financial analysis of The Playbill Network.

4. In the event Najafi Companies and MME arrive at a mutual agreement to create The Playbill

Network through NewCo, Najafi Companies will guarantee salaries for the management team

totaling $52,000 per month for a minimum term of three years, as well as a 10% equity stake as

discussed in our meeting. An additional two-year employment term shall be optioned upon our

meeting defined deliverables.

5. It will be understood that Najafi Companies and MME are entering into a ‘hand-shake’

commitment that both companies will use their best efforts to create and implement a

partnership for the creation of The Playbill Network by September 1, 2014.

6. Our ‘all-in’ commitment to devote 100% of our time (including the termination of Jeffrey’s

current employment contract on or before September 1, 2014) to this partnership with Najafi

Companies in creating a large-scale startup for the commercialization and monetization of

culture and entertainment on a worldwide basis.

We remain committed to coming to an agreement with you for this new initiative and look forward to

your comments on the proposals above.

With kind regards,

Jeffrey and Jessica


  • Anon says:

    To be fair, both positions could be fairly accurate, could they not? The letter is an offer for JV to terminate his current employment, but there’s no evidence presented here that “Jahm and Daniel” have accepted the terms of this letter. Indeed, they may have rejected this proposal outright, in which case JV wouldn’t be leaving his current post at all, and his statements would be reasonably accurate.

  • Hasbeen says:

    Do you have any confirmation that this proposal was ever agreed to ?

  • Regine says:

    When looking at the earlier report about this from June 10th on this blog, I saw a comment that I agree 100% with, having also dealt with these two individuals in the past. The comment, by somebody named Cyrus said:

    “Sadly, I wouldn’t deal with either of these people. I have had dealings with them in the past, but they are not what I would call, “reliable” and good colleagues,, but rather the usual egomaniacs that prevail with ever more prevalence in this so-called ‘classical music’ business.”

    What astonishes me, more than anything else is how these people can continually resurface, after clearly showing a not too illustrious track record, in the case of Mr. Vanderveen and a lack of loyalty to their employers. Yet, if this is true, “investors” will come to the plate and cough up big bucks to keep these “egomaniacs” in business, until they jump ship and move on to their next “project”. Apparently nobody knows who they can trust and rely on in this “profession”.

  • says:

    If we are to believe the documents and reporting is correct, why go to the trouble of exposing them when doing so might interrupt this person’s ability to make a successful business for himself and his partners? This isn’t journalism. It is vindictive and cruel.

  • Jeffrey Vanderveen says:

    This is Jeffrey Vanderveen, the subject of Mr. Lebrecht’s most recent blog post about me, referring to me as an agent “in denial.” Although I hesitate to dignify Mr. Lebrecht’s blog post (or his website generally) with a response, I am compelled to clarify the following:

    1. Mr. Lebrecht’s claim that I have a “secret plan” to leave my present job at Opus3 Artists is false. I do not have a plan, secret or otherwise, to leave Opus 3 Artists.

    2. In support of his claim that I have a “secret plan” to leave Opus 3, Mr. Lebrecht has posted what he purports to be a letter, dated June 9, 2014, to “Jahm and Daniel” regarding Playbill Network. Mr. Lebrecht’s blog post does not identify who authored the letter, from whom it was obtained, or to whom (if anyone) it was ever sent.

    3. In point of fact, the purported letter posted on Mr. Lebrecht’s blog is false. The purported letter was never sent by me to “Jahm and Daniel,” and does not, nor did it ever, represent a business proposal between myself and/or Mssrs. Jahm, Daniel.

    4. As do many agents in the industry, I regularly seek out opportunities to enhance the careers of the artists I represent. Opus 3 has in fact been fully apprised at all times of my efforts in this regard, and has fully supported my efforts.

    5. Before posting his article claiming I am “in denial,” and that I plan to leave Opus 3 and (at least by implication) abandon my clients, Mr. Lebrecht never once contacted me to discuss the article, or my intentions with regard to Opus 3 or my clients. This is unsurprising – had Mr. Lebrecht contacted me to discuss my current plans at Opus 3, I would have immediately dispelled the false claims in Mr. Lebrecht’s blog post.

    As the founder of what is self-heralded as “the world’s most-read cultural website” (, I am disappointed (but in the blogger age, not surprised) that Mr. Lebrecht did not reach out to me before accusing me of being “in denial.” As a final point of clarification, I am not in denial, and Mr. Lebrecht’s claims in that regard are false.

    Jeffrey Vanderveen

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Well, that’s reassuring. We wish Mr Vanderveen well in his present and future posts. The reason we did not contact him about the letter is that he has failed to reply to several emails from Slipped Disc at his present and past posts. No point in wearing out fingertips on non-responders.

  • LVM says:

    Insofar as I have misgivings about both Mr. Vanderveen an this blog, I find Mr. Vanderveen’s position more defensible here. To post such a letter without substantiation, whether it has any merit, with the agenda of injuring one’s reputation and business, is a malicious and spiteful act, if not potentially libelous. And if the plan is serious, why take down those who are simply trying to do something productive in a staid industry? I enjoy salacious gossip as much as the next person, but this has the whiff of tabloid invasion without the journalistic standards or sensational cast of characters. These people are not interesting. Moving on.