Biz news: Rift at the top of IMG Artists

Biz news: Rift at the top of IMG Artists


norman lebrecht

May 14, 2021

Billboard magazine has published an extensive investigation into IMG Artists which is now, by default, the world’s largest classical agency.

The major shareholder, Alexander Shustorovich, has spoken for the first time. He is not happy with the minority owner, Barrett Wissman.

Wissman, 58, is designated chairman and Shustorovich president/CEO, but those are not legal corporate titles. Shustorovich says he now has majority control of the privately held company. Wissman claims his stake and Shustorovich’s are equal. The two men do not appear to agree on much, and their mutual distaste is palpable. Wissman will not speak of it on the record; Shustorovich has no such qualms.

“People have asked, why would I get in bed with a guy like this?” says Shustorovich of his fellow shareholder. “I thought he’d done his penance. He presents himself like he’s a nice guy, and a lot of people fall for that crap. Now that I’ve got to know him better, I’ve learned to be more careful.”

Shustorovich says he recently had to sue Wissman in New York State Supreme Court for failing to repay a large personal loan. Wissman is currently suing Shustorovich in the same court for allegedly overcharging the agency for rental space in a New York townhouse Shustorovich owns.

Nice peeps.

Read the full shebang here.


  • henry williams says:

    these wealthy people are usually in court.
    nice for the lawyers

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Many years ago, you had boutique agencies representing respected musicians. This led to corporate management, which, in some cases, rendered some smaller boutique agencies less strong in the market. However, slowly, we well may see the return of smaller boutique offices run smoothly by their managers, representing a small group of artists as they once enjoyed. Speaking personally, I have been managed by both – corporate and boutique. The bottom line is mutual respect of the artist and their representative. The late 20th century also did not have the technological means for people to cultivate and maintain friendships through technology. Now we do. Managing artists is never easy, for there are many who have special offerings for their performances. The pandemic certainly closed off all opportunities. In the end, I have maintained since I started my career 36 years ago, that, in the words of the late President of Opus 3, ‘make friends in the business’ was the most important lesson taught to me as I started out. Artists must be very savvy, and know they are in good hands, in the hands of a respected company doing things with integrity and acting in their best interests. Before the internet, we relied solely on these managers. (Well, in 1988, we did have the telephone, so reaching out to conductors and orchestras was certainly not impossible, however taboo in the eyes of some managers.) It will be interesting to see how the performing and recording industry evolves in a post-pandemic world. With or without powerful agencies, musicians still have the burden to create and sustain their careers with truthfulness, soul-searching and a sense of legacy. Perhaps the names in management history many remember will be the names Sol Hurok and Ronald Wilford. But time moves forward.

  • PFmus says:

    Shustorovich donated one million dollars to the Trump campaign. He is apparently one of the very, very large crew of Russian oil oligarchs who have financially raped the Russian people and fled to live in London and luxury.