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Breaking: Two classical agencies are expelled by professional body

The International Artist Managers Association has taken the unusual step of expelling two of its members, both based in Vienna. Here’s the internal statement that went out to other associates.

The board has resolved to expel two Full IAMA companies based in Vienna for falling short of the professional standards expected of a member company. They are: Vienna Music Connection and Primusic. The members concerned were given the option to make an appeal but none was received. 

Primusic is a reputable group, representing the conductors Hans Graf, Fabio Biondi and Jeffrey Tate, among others. We’re trying to find out what they have done wrong in IAMA’s eyes.

The non-cataract eyes, that is. IAMA turns a Nelsonian blind eye to the fact that the co-owner of its second-largest member, IMG Artists, is a convicted fraudster.

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  1. That’s quite amazing. I think all of the big agencies would have to be expelled if there really was such a thing as ‘professional standards’ in the world of classical music agents.

    • Greg Richards says:

      Absolutely, Luciano. If it were a mere matter of fees then why would IAMA word the announcement that way (or even bother in the first place)?

      I don’t suppose it has anything to do with the fact that VMC charge artists an annual retainer cunningly disguised as publicity fees?

  2. IAMA turns a Nelsonian blind eye to the fact that the co-owner of its second-largest member, IMG Artists, is a convicted fraudster.

    But a fraudster with a lot of power and enormous sums of cash.

  3. I can tell you exactly what Primusic has done wrong. [The remainder of this post has been redacted, following legal intervention].

    • Are you in a position to provide further enlightenment about “legal intervention”?

      My recollection is that what Richard wrote was pretty unremarkable.

  4. Primusic have put me on their website without ever asking me. I wouldn’t have minded had they provided me with occasional gigs. But they haven’t.

  5. Interesting post Richard. The mind boggles over what the agency actually used YOUR fee for, instead of paying it direct to you, if they were only able to offer to pay it much later “in installments”. What a con.

  6. Both Iama in Europe and Napama (North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents) have worked hard to establish professional standards in our field. Each has a code of ethics. We have the responsibility to both the artist and presenter. It hurts to know that unprofessional dealings are happening, but Iama has obviously dealt with this problem, as has Napama in years past.

    Ann Summers Dossena
    Founding Member, Napama

  7. Are we talking about Vienna Music CONNECTION? (not corporation)? If so, I can tell you why they have been removed!

    • I think so. Do share.

      • Spurred on by a certain famous soprano on their books, via their website, I found published details for forthcoming Agency auditions in Vienna over 3 days duration. i asked if they would hear me sing. they said the following:
        “Ja, Sie können an den Auditions kommende Woche noch teilnehmen. Um Ihre Teilnahme zu sichern, darf ich Sie bitten, die Teilnahmegebühr in Höhe von Euro 480 auf folgendes Konto zu überweisen und mir eine Zahlungsbestätigung zukommen zu lassen.:Vienna Music Connection, Bank Austria…” etc, with bank details.
        Unlike the NYIOP auditions in US and Europe (chairman David Blackburn) who charge a similar amount to sing in front of a panel of prestigious thatre reps (and I find this one questionable too), the Vienna Music Connection ask for this fee to go and sing for the one agent in Vienna. This is ludicrous and I hope they will be stopped. If there are singers out there who have such disposable income and STILL need an agent, and STILL think this is a good idea, then more fool them. But it is nothing short of abuse IMHO. Praying on the desperate minds of singers trying to carve out a career. I express again, this is Vienna Music CONNECTION, not corporation and may therefore not be the same company.


          Is this “one agent” in the panel? (see link and Photos) Please inform yourself BEFORE writing any comment!!
          Best regards,


          • OK, in reply to the photograph, I apologise for my comment if this is representative of the auditions held by the agency. Unfortunately it was not made clear by the agency on the website, or by the email, that in fact the ‘general’ auditions would be for a large number of casting agents and directors. Thanks for the clarification.

          • Diamanda Gross says:

            I see people in the audience but who are they and who do they represent? I could easily put 20 people in an audience and call it an audition.

          • Katherine says:

            I know for a fact they were several artistic directors in Vienna to hear these auditions, so I don’t think it was a fraud, but I do think it is on the gray side of ethical. The same as David Blackburn, IMG Berlin, holding paid auditions. No serious agency would send its singers to NYIOP as it risks to loose them.

  8. Some of this is mind-boggling.

    Norman, thank you for beginning this discussion. These types of stories – and comments – are why I read Slipped Disc.

  9. Hiermit möchten wir bestätigen, dass unsere Mitgliedschaft bei der IAMA gekündigt wurde. Der Grund dafür ist, dass wir nicht gewillt sind, die hohen Gebühren der IAMA zu bezahlen und eine Mitgliedschaft aus finanziellen Gründen nicht für notwendig erachten, da wir die Services der IAMA bisher kaum in Anspruch genommen haben und diese für unser Vorankommen nicht entscheidend sind.

    Wir danken der IAMA und wünschen ihr alles Gute,

    We want to confirm that our IAMA membership was cancelled. The reason for this are the high membership fees wich we are not willing to pay. We have never used the services of the IAMA and we don’t find it necessary for our developement to be part of this association.

    We wish the IAMA all the best,

  10. Victoria Clarke says:

    What agencies can be recommended to newcomers, in your opinion, or freelance singers?

    • If you’re really starting out, then the best thing to do is just do as many auditions as possible, and not worry about agents. The truth is that only the bigger ones will be able to offer you real help, but you will have to prove yourself and get to a certain point in your career before they will look at you. If you are thinking of a particular agency, look at their list and see what their artists (particularly in your voice type) are doing. If they’re working regularly, maybe it’s OK, but if not…

  11. The international music business is full of criminals. The more international the more criminal.

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