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Polygram Turns Up The Volume

It wasn't too long ago that PolyGram Chief Executive Alain Levy was probably the least known entertainment mogul in the U.S. True, he headed one of the world's biggest music companies. But few Americans outside the music business had ever heard of Levy. Indeed, London-based PolyGram was best known in the U.S. as the stodgy producer of such highbrow fare as Pavarotti and Friends and Die Frau Ohne Schatten conducted by Sir Georg Solti.

Nowadays, Levy has a much higher profile. Over the past few years, he has transformed the once-sleepy classical music company into an entertainment powerhouse in the U.S. He has snapped up three major U.S. record labels, the most recent being the $325 million purchase of Motown Record Corp. last year. Along the way, PolyGram's U.S. arm has become the home of such pop royalty as U2, Aaron Neville, and INXS.