IMG Artists spirals deeper into loss

IMG Artists spirals deeper into loss


norman lebrecht

December 01, 2014

We’ve been reading the IMG Artists accounts for the year ended 31 December 2013 and it looks like the company is getting ever deeper into mire.

Turnover is down from £8.6 million to £7.2m and there’s a pre-tax operating loss of £341,914.

The company is carrying almost £3 million of debt due within a year and appears to be living off credit from its joint owners, the American fraudster Barrett Wissman (l. below) and the Russian Alexander Shustorovich.

wissman kotova


In an extraordinary note to the accounts it is stated ‘The company has taken advantage of the exemption available in FRS 8 ‘Related party disclosures’ whereby it has not disclosed transactions with the parent company or any wholly owned subsidiary undetaking of the group.’

Smoke and mirrors, in other words. What you see is not what you get.

It gets worse. The main company, IMG Artists (UK) Limited, trading in several European countries, is owned by a parent company incorporated in Cyprus.

Under the heading ‘turnover’ we read: ‘In the opinion of the director the disclosure of the geographical analysis of turnover would be seriously prejudicial to the interests of the company’.

How interesting…. the more so when much of its business appears to be funneled through Italy.

Read these account whichever way you like, but they are far from transparent. Artists with IMG might wish to demand greater clarity.



  • StopTheMusic says:

    Having read this blog for several years now, one would assume that Barrett Wissman’s first name is “Fraudster”. Now, come on: let’s not judge a man by how he fell, but by how he picks himself up. As we all know (from reading Slippedisc, of course) IMG Artists recently streamlined its business model in an effort to cope with its losses amidst the ever shrinking profits of the artist management industry. IMG Artists is now down to bare-bones facilities & staff, amongst which can be found some of the most talented (and underpaid) agents in the industry. These people work hard with love & dedication for their artists — not for money — so let’s give IMG Artists a chance to regroup and do their good work. IMG Artists is a necessary force in today’s artist management industry, so let’s not poke at the souffle with spades.

    • Nick says:

      I am curious about the comment “IMG Artists is a necessary force in today’s artist management industry.” Why so, I wonder?

      Economics have forced the classical music agency business worldwide into a period of change, somewhat similar I suspect to that in the 1960s and 70s when the giant behemoths in the US and the UK broke up and spawned much smaller boutique agencies. With the exception of only the highest paid, managing artists is time-consuming and labour intensive. When Mark McCormack brought the Hamlen/Landau agency into his stable and renamed it IMG Artists, its development as a worldwide entity was in part due to the worldwide reach of its core sports marketing business. I have no idea how its accounting worked in those days, but I expect locating IMG Artists in already existing IMG offices around the world was far less expensive than renting anew. There must also have been other cost-saving synergies, not least the access to IMG’s highly experienced and lucrative sports sponsorship departments.

      McCormack’s death and the hiving off of the Artists division must have had a significant effect on the bottom line of the ‘new’ IMG Artists which thereafter had to absorb all these costs and raise its own sponsorship income. Given that, plus the defection of several high-yielding major artists, falling deeper into “the mire” is surely unsurprising. Incidentally, go to the first page of IMG Artists website and you’ll see it is still listing the Singapore Sun Festival under “Our Festivals” and “Live! Singapore” under “Our Events”. Both died some years ago! An indicator for the future??