World’s biggest classical agency goes for rebrand

World’s biggest classical agency goes for rebrand


norman lebrecht

September 05, 2017

From today, CAMI wants to be known as Columbia Artists.

The mega-agency built up by Arthur Judson and Ronald Wilford wishes ‘to return “artists” to the center of our brand identity’.

Press release follows.


Columbia Artists Management Inc:Established 1930Announces New Brand Identity & Vision for Company’s FutureLegendary Performing Arts Firm Becomes:Columbia Artists”CAMI” Acronym is Retired
September 5, 2017 –   Columbia Artists Management Inc. is reframing the company’s brand identity and vision for the future.

In describing the upcoming changes, the company released the following statement along with comments from Tim Fox, President and CEO, and R. Douglas Sheldon, Executive Vice President and Managing Director:

As we enter the 2017 – 2018 season, we embark on a new chapter and proudly return “artists” to the center of our brand identity. The shorthand acronym, CAMI, which has evolved since the 1970s, will now be retired as we reclaim the signature identity with which we made our mark:  Columbia Artists.

Creativity, innovation, integrity, and a passion for excellence have been driving our success since the company was founded in 1930. Dedication to these founding principles has burnished the reputation of Columbia Artists Management Inc. as the worldwide trusted industry leader in the performing arts.

Our managers, producers, and agents serve an unsurpassed roster of top instrumentalists, conductors, opera singers and other vocalists, orchestras, theatrical and musical attractions, and dance ensembles of all kinds. Hand-in-glove with our clientele, Columbia Artists shapes individual careers and develops national and international touring and performance strategies.

Columbia Artists continues to honor its history even as it looks boldly to the future.
Columbia Artists was founded in 1930 in the depth of the Great Depression, by broadcasting pioneer William S. Paley and the impresario Arthur Judson bringing together eight leading independent managers to build a business model comparable to the then Hollywood studio system.

Ronald A. Wilford, who succeeded Judson as president in 1970 and directed the firm until his death in 2015, spearheaded expansion into foreign markets, quickly establishing a position of international dominance, frequently by creating top-down niche management divisions that functioned as independent entities.

The increasingly globalized business of the present favors a more team-oriented collaborative approach. Today Columbia Artists relies as much on the fresh ideas of creative, culturally diverse recruits from top conservatories and arts-management programs as it does on hard-won expertise and institutional memory.

“The core mission of Columbia Artists has not changed since its founding,” says Tim Fox, President and CEO. “Our goal is to enable our clients to develop their artistic potential to the fullest, according to their unique personalities and vision, even as we develop their commercial possibilities in the most fitting and rewarding ways. That said, even for industry veterans like Doug Sheldon and me, the challenges are exceptional. Everybody faces marketing challenges today, individuals and institutions alike.”

R. Douglas Sheldon, Executive Vice President and Managing Director elaborates: “A generation or two ago, our business was a lot simpler. With a recording contract an artist’s career was on the way, his/her name was acquiring a high profile, and there was a recording income stream. Today, recordings are mostly a promotional necessity that neither enhances one’s profile or income. Between streaming and HD transmissions and all else that is in the cyber pipeline, we’re bombarded by more electronic media than anyone can consume. Which only goes to show that the living presence and performance of the artist is more important than ever. The responsibility of Columbia Artists, as managers, is to work more diligently than ever to create opportunities for live performance, to forge partnerships to make our clients known and to place them in situations where they can shine.”

“We are proud entering our tenth decade as premier managers in the performing arts,” says Mr. Fox. “We at Columbia Artists look ahead with pride in our history of excellence and innovation—and with confidence and commitment in our team spirit, diversity, integrity, passion and sense of adventure.”




  • Nigel says:

    A rebranding and yet their website remains as

    How smart.

  • DJ says:

    They are so not the world’s biggest classical music agency anymore.

  • Nigel says:

    IMG Artists is MUCH bigger by every metric. Just take a quick look at the number of offices and employees. No comparison really.

  • Harold Shiniak says:

    Look at the website now:

    It’s horrrible…

  • Ungeheuer says:

    This would be hilarious if it weren’t self-indicting: “The mega-agency … wishes ‘to return “artists” to the center of our brand identity’. One would imagine artists to be the obvious center of any artist agency’s identity or raison d’être. Which begs asking: To what or who was their identity focused on while classical music and opera collapsed all around them? Could their neglect of artists have played a role?

  • Marc Parella says:

    CAMI is either responsible for the growth of the industry, or the culprit in its collapse. Take your pick.

  • Judie Janowski says:

    Ronald Wilford succeeded Kurt Weinold as President. Arthur Judson had died many years before.

  • Don Hohoho says:

    I thought HP was a steak sauce.
    Columbia Artists, does this mean they will maintain their reputation for dishonesty, thievery, unethical practices and the monopolizing that made them famous?