Meet the new DG boss

Meet the new DG boss


norman lebrecht

September 03, 2015


This is the Springer executive hired by Universal to revivify Deutsche Grammophon.

This is his c.v.:

Dr. Clemens Trautmann has extensive experience in classical music, the arts and today’s rapidly evolving media business which he will bring to the leadership of the celebrated label. He began his career studying the clarinet with Sabine Meyer and Reiner Wehle at the Lübeck Academy of Music and then with Charles Neidich at New York’s esteemed Juilliard School where he received his Masters of Music degree. As a soloist he has performed at numerous concerts and festivals and featured on a variety of recordings. He was awarded the prestigious Hans Sikorski memorial prize and was honoured by the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival.

A fully qualified lawyer, who is 38, Dr. Clemens Trautmann has held a number of senior and strategic roles at leading media companies.  For the last six years, he has worked at Germany’s foremost digital publishing company Axel Springer, most recently heading up the office of the CEO as Chief of Staff. He has served as Chief Executive of Axel Springer’s Immonet online business and has run a number of the company’s priority management board programmes including those focusing on developing new businesses and driving digital change.

Dr. Clemens Trautmann succeeds Mark Wilkinson who, as announced in March, is taking up a new global role within Universal Music’s classical business.


  • Hartmut says:

    This may seem like a hopeful appointment, but I sadly have serious doubts, not about Mr. Trautmann’s abilities, but rather how a person who worked in a highly professional media group, such as Springer Verlag, will be able to deal with the outright amateurism and poor management culture of a group like Universal Music. I have heard from no less than three headhunter/management consultants that the senior management of Universal Music, and particularly Universal Classics, is amateurish at best and outright incompetent at worst, and in their words, and I quote from one of their e-mails upon hearing of a past appointment, Universal Classics is “a collection of oversized suits, all with tremendous egos, highly politicized culture, with an inherent disdain for culture and anything and anybody that is not populist and appears in the slightest way to be cultivated and obviously intelligent. In short, a laddish culture and an organization unfit to be dealing with classical music and creating an environment where creative thinking is nurtured and encouraged.”
    In any case, I wish Mr. Trautmann good luck in overcoming the challenges that he faces.

    • Alvaro says:

      This is highly unusual, but I have nothing to add.

      Hopefully Mr. Trautmann is the force that brings common sense and respect once again to this defenestrated brand.

      As far as macro trends go, its unlikely that him or anybody else will be able to return prior glory as the organization is too interconnected with Universal’s global strategy to do so.

      Hopefully a spinoff is possible.

  • Erich says:

    On the face of it, this seems a potentially inspired choice, since he would seem to possess the ability to confer with artists on their own level and have the ‘modern’ qualifications to deal with a consumer world seeking quite different means of gratification from their purveyors of classical music.
    Universal – in particular DG – have completely lost the mystique and kudos previously associated with the yellow label in recent years and have indeed had – and to a certain extent still have – a number of overpaid and ovet-egotistical ‘suits’ working there. Let’s hope the good Doctor weeds them out and returns to basics: the best classical music!

  • Robert Roy says:

    I remember the days when DG records and CDs were greatly anticipated but, alas, their recent output has been pretty woeful. These Richter ‘re- composed’ efforts and the recording of The Who’s rock opera ‘Tommy’ are hardly living up to the releases of days gone by.

    Very sad.

    • Holger H. says:

      I would say that is simple to explain.

      Every society has the artists it deserves…
      You give the old DG too much credit. DG’s business model was always very simple. They signed the best artists. Period.
      DG also in the old days did not create the consumer’s interest in high quality produced music… The society created that interest. DG only reacted.
      Now DG has not enough customers anymore, societies dumbed down, culturally sensitive people in younger generations are a diminishing minority.

      • Jevgeniy says:

        I disagree, DG definitely created the need it filled. They promoted certain artists but failed to sign some other, better artists. They were successful at branding their artists to be seen as superior. For example, Wilhelm Kempff.

        • Holger H. says:

          They were successful in it, because the public cared more.
          Again, they never created that demand, they reacted to realities in society. Classical high arts being a centerpiece of general education, cultural education considered worthwhile for upward social mobility as well. That are the essential ingredients for a customer base buying high quality artistic media productions. DG can’t change the reality…

  • Songfest says:

    Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but NOBODY can awaken the recording industry, least of all the large, corporate labels such as Universal & Sony. The small, independent labels eclipsed them years ago (Hyperion, Chandos, etc) because they were run by musically knowledgeable individuals who strove for quality – and they didn’t have to answer to any corporate lawyers, MBA’s or other such ego-maniacal higher-ups, which sadly Clemens Trautmann will be forced to do. So, no matter what his abilities or good intentions are, the folks above him will interfere and ultimately ruin his efforts — all while the internet and youtube continues to steal their business. +