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A New Worker-owned Cooperative

American classical recording company Soundmirror has transitioned to employee ownership


Soundmirror, a USA-based classical music recording and post-production company, announced on 26 September 2023 that it has become a 100% employee-owned business through the establishment of a worker-owned cooperative agreement.

The company, which has studios in Boston MA, has been recording orchestras, opera companies and classical artists around the world for over fifty years, collecting many awards during that period. The move to employee ownership was chosen as a mechanism to sustain the company's long history of recording and post-production services, as founder and president John Newton plans to retire. He will remain at the company during a transition period, and says:

I am excited about the possibilities this evolution opens up for Soundmirror. Our company was built on the strength and reputation of our exceptionally talented staff, and I know that it will continue to thrive in the hands of the employees who have made it so successful.

Founded by Newton in 1972, Soundmirror has recorded hundreds of orchestras and opera companies around the world including the National Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Minnesota Opera.

A worker-owned cooperative is a business owned and controlled by its employees, where ownership is shared equally among those who choose to buy into the company. The new model will not change the services or operations of Soundmirror; the three senior engineers and producers of the company, Mark Donahue, Blanton Alspaugh and Dirk Sobotka, who now cooperatively own the company along with general manager Alexis Price, will continue to provide world-class recording services and are eager to collaboratively lead the company through the next phase of its growth and development. Mark Donahue, the company's Chief Engineer, comments:

Collectively, the four of us have been with Soundmirror for over eighty-five years. We knew this model was the best way to preserve Soundmirror's reputation and build on the legacy that John started.


Soundmirror recording at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Photo © Blanton Alspaugh
Soundmirror recording at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
Photo © Blanton Alspaugh

Allison Curtis, Business Conversions Program Director at The ICA Group, assisted Soundmirror with the transition. She says:

We congratulate Soundmirror on its transition to employee ownership. The worker-owned cooperative model recognizes and rewards employees who care and deeply understand the mission of the company, and who are committed to its long-term success. All of these things are true at Soundmirror and the new employee owners are well-positioned to build on its strong foundation of success in the years to come.

Founded in 1972, Soundmirror has for over fifty years been one of the USA's leading recording and production companies of classical music, with a trademark of world class customer service and a respected team of experienced engineers and producers. The company has recorded for major classical record labels such as BMG, CBS, Chandos, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, Nonesuch, PentaTone Classics, Reference Recordings, Sony Classical, Telarc and Warner/Elektra.

Further information:

Posted 30 September 2023 by Keith Bramich



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