Allen Klein (December 18, 1931 – July 4, 2009) was an American businessman, music publisher, writers' representative and record label executive.
He was known for his tough persona and aggressive negotiation tactics, many of which established higher industry standards for compensating recording artists.
He founded ABKCO Music & Records Incorporated.
Klein revolutionized the income potential of recording artists, who previously had been routinely victimized by onerous record company contracts.
He first scored massive monetary and contractual windfalls for Buddy Knox and Jimmy Bowen, one-hit rockabillies of the late 1950s, then parlayed his early successes into a position managing Sam Cooke, and eventually managed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones simultaneously, along with many other artists, becoming one of the most powerful individuals in the music industry during his era.Rather than offering financial advice and maximizing his clients' income, as a business manager normally would, Klein set up what he called "buy/sell agreements" where a company that Klein owned became an intermediary between his client and the record label, owning the rights to the music, manufacturing the records, selling them to the record label, and paying royalties and cash advances to the client.
Although Klein greatly increased his clients' incomes, he also enriched himself, sometimes without his clients' knowledge.
(The Rolling Stones's $1.25 million advance from the Decca Records label in 1965, for one glaring example, was deposited into a company that Klein had established, and the fine print of the contract did not require Klein to release it for 20 years.) Klein's involvement with both the Beatles and Rolling Stones would lead to years of litigation and, specifically for the Rolling Stones, accusations from the group that Klein had withheld royalty payments, stolen the publishing rights to their songs, and neglected to pay their taxes for five years; this last had necessitated their French "exile" in 1971.After years of pursuit by the IRS, Klein was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of making a false statement on his 1972 tax return, for which he spent two months of 1980 in jail.