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Universal Music Artist Agency

The Manager as Double Agent

By Matthew Gurewitsch
Wall Street Journal

Last fall, the Universal Music Group, owners of the premier classical labels Decca and Deutsche Grammophon, sent shock waves through the industry when they launched, without warning, the Universal Music Artist Agency, offering the company's glamorous roster of recording artists – we are talking the likes of Renée Fleming and Lang Lang – for galas, corporate events, promotional campaigns and even Christmas parties. Mind you, these stars were not Universal's clients.

Under the contracts the world of classical music is used to, the person who negotiates an artist's services for performances, personal appearances, endorsements, recording deals and any other activities is the artist's manager. The historic role of the recording company – whether Universal or a competitor like Sony Classical or EMI Classics – has been to finance recordings and handle manufacturing, distribution, press and promotion, while retaining copyright in perpetuity.

Read more about this at the Wall Street Journal website: