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Universal restructures its German classical chief out of a job

Christian Kellermann, head of Universal Classics and Jazz in Germany, will be leaving the company next April. The music giant has simplified its structures so that the head of Deutsche Grammophon, Mark Wilkinson, will now report to the supreme German territories boss, Frank Briegmann.

Kellermann is reckoned to have done a good job in difficult times, but direct access to the top will benefit DG – especially its big-name artists.

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  1. The intricacies of managerial reporting structure are far too byzantine for the average reader to comprehend what this change means. Is the DG part of the label classical only? If so, then the direct access is certainly better than sharing it with the Jazz division as the universal manager’s title seems to imply.

  2. WolfgangAmadeus says:

    Mark Wilkinson already reported to Frank Briegmann, before this news. Briegmann oversees Deutsche Grammophon, in addition to the Universal Germany, Switzerland and Austria. This move will only reduce headcount and cut costs by closing down the entire local Universal Germany classical operation. It won’t do anything to help any artists gain access to the top, as mentioned above. It will just save the company money at a time when they are seeing their sales and outdated business model collapse. DG is living on borrowed time, as are the few surviving classical labels. DG’s T&E overheads and salaries are outrageous and their purchasing consumer base is shrinking and losing interest. Mark Wilkinson is a populist and out of his depth in this role. The next shoe to drop will be when Universal either shuts down DG and/or Decca completely, selling off their content to an Apple, Microsoft or other content manager, or simply managing the online sales and distribution themselves, without continuing to produce recordings that few want to own anymore . The current set-up will go on for not much longer, two years at most.

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