I have had a long association with Simon Foster. Back in the
mists of time (well 40 years ago) I had invited him to give
a talk to the Hinckley Gramophone Society. At that time he was
involved with Barry McCann in producing Classics for Pleasure
(on cassette). We struck up a friendship that was to last. Having
founded MusicWeb I invited him to become a CD reviewer for the
site. One day in 2000 he asked if he could come and see me in
Coventry. There was to be a new magazine, International
Record Review launched by Barry Irvine and Simon
was on the Board. We discussed the proposed format and layout
of the magazine. For a while the magazine published one of MusicWeb's
reviews each month and we published one of theirs. MusicWeb
had no income and in 2001 Simon proved invaluable in finding
MusicWeb a new home with Classical Network Ltd and we eventually
ended up on the Harold Moore server in association with LudwigvanWeb.com.
Unfortunately for us they could not make the website pay. LudwigvanWeb.com
were selling downloads - way ahead of the market!
Prior to forming the consultancy company, Music Company (MusicCo)
with Melanne Mueller in 2000, Simon was a well-known classical
record and management executive with continuous experience in
the music industry for over 25 years. In both A&R and marketing
roles, his major label positions have included Director of EMI
Classics UK, founding Managing Director of Virgin Classics,
and Director of BMG Classics UK. As an executive producer, he
is responsible for more Gramophone Awards than any other individual.
He is perhaps best known for signing Nigel Kennedy to EMI and
the production of Elgar’s Violin Concerto and Vivaldi’s
Four Seasons, amongst others. At Virgin he created a legacy
which is still scoring successes to this day. At BMG he signed
Daniele Gatti and was executive producer of Lesley Garrett’s
A Soprano Inspired. Melanne Mueller had been head of international
marketing at BMG and finally Senior Vice president of Universal
Music Classical in New York.
In 2008 they were then joined by another recording executive,
Barry McCann, former Managing Director of EMI Classics UK He
is responsible for Avies marketing, press, promotion, and international
In 2002 Simon, announced he was intending to set up a house
label for MusicCo called Avante, which rapidly became Avie and
MusicWeb offered to create a website for it. The label was to
work on a completely different premise from any other label
in that the artists would retain the rights to their own recordings.
There have been numerous instances of artists on other labels
losing this control and having no say in the release of their
recording or even if it was to be deleted from the catalogue.
Once deleted the artists were not able to take their recording
to another label because they did not own the rights and so
were left in limbo. This new approach has been a great success
with well over 250 titles currently appearing in their catalogue
Avie now run their own website at http://www.avie-records.com/.
Once Avie was up and running Simon felt it would no longer be
appropriate to continue reviewing discs on MusicWeb International.
MusicWeb International applauds the success of Avie and looks
forward to reviewing their second decade of discs.