Thursday, May 29, 2008

Universal Music moves into classical artist management amid lawsuits claiming criminal conspiracy and theft...

As CD sales figures continue to erode in the United States, one of the biggest players in the classical recording industry is adding a new line of business. Universal Classics and Jazz, the worldwide market leader in classical CD sales, announced on Wednesday the formation of Universal Music Classical Artists Management and Productions.

According to an internal statement the new division is meant to provide management services for and produce live events for prominent classical musicians.

The new operation, based in London, will be run by Jeffrey Vanderveen, whose title is managing director. Mr. Vanderveen recently left his previous job at the IMG Artists management firm, where he was a senior vice president and director of the vocal division in Europe, to move to Universal Classics. Others involved in the new operation are Manfred Seipt, another former IMG executive, and Tom Graham, a music industry veteran who came out of retirement to join the firm.

Reacting to formation of the new company, IMG has filed suit against Mr. Vanderveen, Mr. Seipt, Universal and its president, Chris Roberts, for what it said were improprieties including criminal conspiracy and theft. The case is pending in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

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