2016 Conference Speakers

Jay Abraham

Jay Abraham Accounting


Jay Abraham, CPA, CGA, has provided accounting and business management services to the Canadian music industry for over 20 years. During that time, he was worked with everyone from international touring artists and artist management companies to independent artists and record labels. Currently running his own accounting practice, Jay also splits his time with RGK Entertainment Group, Last Gang Entertainment, and Taylor Klein Oballa LLP.

Brian Allen

Amplus Productions


A veteran of the business, Brian Allen’s first venture was as a member and principal songwriter for the band Toronto in the ‘80s, logging four platinum albums. Brian currently heads Amplus Productions and is actively writing, recording and consulting. Recent productions include Marshall Dane’s “Running Stop Signs” (Country Music News #11 album of 2011), Mike Lynch’s “Road Map” (Country Music News #5 album of 2011), Darrelle London (via EMI) and Roveena’s EP “Perfect World.”

Eric Alper

eOne Music Canada


Eric Alper is the Director of Media Relations for eOne Music Canada, and the host of SiriusXM’s ThatEricAlper show. He’s also CTV’s music correspondent and a regular contributor to CBC Radio, Country 92.9 in Chatham-Kent, AM 640 in Toronto, and CJBK AM in London among others. He’s been named to Billboard Magazine, Paste Magazine and The National Post’s best on social media and has over 830,000 followers on Twitter and over 20,000 fans on Facebook. ThatEricAlper.com receives over 125,000 hits a week.

Sean Andernacht

Cadence Music Group


Sam Arraj

D. Jae Gold Entertainment Accountants


Sam Arraj is a Manager at D. Jae Gold Entertainment Accountants and has over eight years’ experience in serving small to medium-size businesses in the cultural industry in the areas of tax, financial reporting, and financial consulting. Sam is the founder and publisher of Music Biz Finance. He served on the CMAO Board from 2011 to 2015, including three terms as the President.

Joel Baskin

The Feldman Agency


Since joining The Feldman Agency in 2011, booking agent Joel Baskin has developed a diverse, wide-ranging roster of acts. Throughout that time, Baskin constantly adapted his services to meet their ongoing needs, an approach predicated by his desire to create custom-built solutions for his artists and one Baskin has applied consistently over his ten years in the industry – first as Founder and President of The Pilot Agency, and now at The Feldman Agency.

Rona Birenbaum

Caring for Clients


Rona Birenbaum has worked in financial services for over 25 years in the credit union, full-service brokerage and independent financial planning industries. She founded Caring for Clients, a fee-only financial planning firm, in 2000. She is an Honours graduate of York University’s Business School, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and an Insurance Advisor. Wealth Professional Magazine named Caring for Clients one of the top independent firms in Canada and Rona one of the top 50 advisors in Canada three years running.

Jason Blaine

Artist


Leading the way with six CMAO nominations, Pembroke native Jason Blaine has been at the top of the Canadian country music charts on both radio and CMT Canada with more than a dozen Top 10 singles including the 2012 CCMA Single of the Year “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Anymore”. 2015 saw Jason’s single “Country Side” top the charts at #1 Canadian on both BDS and Mediabase charts respectively and was the #1 Most Played Canadian Country song for 2015.

Chris Case

Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers


Maximize your Opportunity and Minimize your Risk! With more than 25 years’ experience in the entertainment industry as a booker, promoter, label owner and artist manager, Chris Case is not your typical Insurance Broker. His client list includes artists, labels, management companies, studios, venues and all types of related entertainment and new media businesses. Contact Chris for any insurance requirement you may have.

Patricia Conroy

Artist


Throughout her career, songwriting has been an integral part of Patricia Conroy’s success. Crafting hits like “Direction of Love”, “Keep Me Rockin’” and “Bad Day for Trains” led to the opportunity to write with many of Canada’s brightest country stars such as Michelle Wright, Jimmy Rankin, Emerson Drive, Chad Brownlee, Small Town Pistols and Tebey, to name a few.

Kevin Goodman

FRC Marketing


Kevin Goodman has always had a passion for music, and it was only a matter of time before it translated into business inspiration. In 2007, he launched Front Row Center Music and Entertainment Marketing (“FRC”) with a mandate to connect the biggest brands with the best bands. Today, his inspiration has come to complete fruition. On a daily basis, Kevin is leading the charge on behalf of numerous marketing and sponsorship campaigns built around some of Canada’s leading music acts, festivals and tours.

Jeff Hayward

FACTOR


Jeff Hayward joined the FACTOR team in early 2015. He is a life-long fan and ambassador of Canadian independent music, hailing from the great city of Brantford. His love for data and spreadsheets is surpassed only by his love for Whitney Houston. By night you can usually find him DJing or watching a movie (or three). He finds it very difficult to write in the third person.

Brian Hetherman

Cerberus Management


Brian Hetherman has extensive experience across all levels of the record label world, leading him to become the youngest head of A&R for both MCA Records & MCA Music Publishing (now Universal Music Group). Brian has filled executive roles at organizations including FACTOR, Radio Starmaker, International Music Managers Forum, Music Managers Forum Canada, CCMA & MROC, in addition to founding Curve Music and Cerberus Artist Management.

Lindsay Hyslop

RGK Entertainment


With over six years of experience in the music industry, Lindsay Hyslop has worked on the digital marketing/social media campaigns for many international and domestic artists. Now at Open Road Recordings and RGK Entertainment, she works very closely with award winning country artists Dean Brody, Tim Hicks, High Valley and more on their social networks and digital marketing plans. Part of her role is to work with major partners including CMT, Coors Banquet and Boots & Hearts to collaborate and build promotions that help promote both their brand and the Open Road roster.

Keely Kemp

CultureCap


From its beginnings as a sole practice, Keely Kemp has built CultureCap into a robust and flexible agency of cultural professionals. To best respond to the emerging and diversifying needs of her clients, Keely approached top professionals to serve on her team, selected particularly for their experience in public, private, and non-profit sectors, and their respective training and exceptional talents.

Liam Killeen

Coalition Entertainment


As the day-to-day manager of USS (Coalition Music/Warner), Faber Drive (604/Universal), These Kids Wear Crowns (Universal), Treble Charger, and Greig Nori, Liam Killeem is dedicated to creating new and exciting opportunities for the artists he works with.

Geoff Kulawick

Linus Group


Geoff Kulawick is the founder and President of Linus Group, which includes labels True North Records, The Children’s Group, Spring Hill Music, Linus Entertainment, and distribution and label services company IDLA. Located in Waterdown Ontario, Linus Group represents the recordings of many prominent Canadian artists including Gordon Lightfoot, Bruce Cockburn, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Randy Bachman, Matt Andersen, Canadian Brass, Ashley MacIsaac, Gowan, Sophie Milman, and Downchild.

Bruce Landon

SOCAN


Bruce Landon is an Account Executive for SOCAN – the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. Bruce is an important facilitator in recruiting and retaining Canada’s emerging music and songwriting talent on behalf of SOCAN. Before joining the Membership Department, Bruce worked with the Concert Distribution Department in a role that bridged Membership and Licensing operations.

Allan Mamaril

M88 Management


Allan Mamaril is a music industry veteran with a career spanning over twenty-plus years, and has held executive positions at companies such as hmv Canada, Puretracks, CD Plus/ROW Entertainment (now Entertainment One) and Virgin Records (UK). Allan is currently the President of M88 Management, a consulting company that works directly with artists to strategically develop and assist in all areas of business including branding, marketing and digital promotions, to help further their career.

Andres Mendoza

Cuto


Soon after he was born in Concepcion, Chile, Andres Mendoza’s parents gave him a nickname. That name, “Cuto”, became the moniker of the music marketing consultancy he founded in 2007 after a 10-year stint at Virgin/EMI Music Canada. He led the labels’ early digital and content marketing initiatives, working with artists including Coldplay, Ben Harper, Janet Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Jesse Cook and Leahy, and, through Cuto, led projects for and managed clients like Alex Cuba, Adam Cohen and Universal Music.

Kyle Merkley

Arpix Media


Kyle Merkley, Director of Music and Technology at Arpix Media, has worked on some of the country’s most successful television series including Murdoch Mysteries, The Listener, and Heartland, and was nominated for a Motion Picture Sound Editors award for the series Flashpoint. Throughout his musical career, Merkley has collaborated with top-24 Canadian Idol contestants, and appeared on Entertainment Tonight: Canada and MuchMusic’s disBAND.

J. Spencer Mussellam

Believe Digital


J. Spencer Mussellam has been immersed in the business of independent music for more than 30 years, in a variety of capacities. As an artist, tour manager, FOH engineer, album producer, artist manager, and marketing and label manager, Spencer’s experience gives him a uniquely broad perspective which serves him well as an advocate for indie artists.

Janis Nixon

Shed Creative Agency


Janis Nixon is considered an early adopter of targeted digital marketing and brand engagement within the music industry. Janis has a gift for connecting some of Canada’s top brands with a range of artists, whether on the rise or established superstars. She has worked closely with such premiere talent as Justin Bieber, Drake, Hedley, Bon Jovi, Sam Roberts Band, Jann Arden and more. Janis has also been delivering branded entertainment successes for brands like Tim Hortons, Aeroplan, Molson Canadian, Ford and RBC.

Doug Oliver

Artist


Juno nominated, CRMA winner, Doug Oliver has had an extensive career in the music business for over 12 years. Doug is currently signed to Sony Music with his international country/rock band Cold Creek County and was signed to Mercury Island Def Jam/604/Universal Records with international platinum selling rock band My Darkest Days. Recently launching his management company Fairhurst Music Management, Doug currently co-manages Cold Creek County with industry professional Kevin Zaruk of Chief Music Management (Florida Georgia Line, Dallas Smith).

Louis O'Reilly

Invictus Entertainment


Louis O’Reilly is currently Vice-President of the Canadian entertainment powerhouse, Invictus Entertainment. He oversees the artist management, record label and publishing divisions, working with such notable artists as George Canyon, Brett Kissel, Emerson Drive, Aaron Pritchett, and newcomers Cory Marquardt, Jordan McIntosh, and Beamer Wigley. Prior to that, O’Reilly ran his own artist management company (O’Reilly International) and record label (On Ramp Records) that represented the top echelon of Canadian country talent. - See more at: http://cmao.r3media.ca/louis-oreilly-invictus-entertainment/#sthash.cXFWpEbD.dpuf

Steve Parker

Media BemBem Inc.


Steve Parker is the President of Media BemBem Inc. & Executive Producer of Canadian Country Spotlight. Prior to this, Steve spent 24 years at the Canadian Radio Television & Telecommunications Commission. During that time Steve also produced radio content for local Ottawa FM station CHEZ-FM. “Canadian Country Spotlight” now ranks as Canada’s #1 independently produced & syndicated Canadian country music show heard on 42 stations across Canada each week.

Aaron Pritchett

Artist


Acclaimed for bringing “rock energy” to “country audiences”, Aaron Pritchett continues to hold the title of one of the most sought-after artists in the business. His passion and intensity for his art overflows on stage and spills into his unwavering dedication to his fans. Following the success of his much anticipated greatest hits album “Body of Work”, Aaron is currently working on his first full length album in six years, slated for a 2016 release.

Stefanie Purificati

UTA


Stefanie Purificati has been at United Talent Agency (formerly The Agency Group) since 2008. She started as the executive assistant to the Senior Vice President and was promoted to Agent in 2012. Her current roster includes notable headline talent such as Sam Roberts Band, Bruce Cockburn, Alan Doyle and Paul Brandt. She is also overseeing the developing careers of artists such as Jess Moskaluke, Cold Creek County, Lindi Ortega and Repartee. Her international roster includes Jeremy Loops (South Africa), Axel Flovent (Iceland) and Kristian Nairn (Ireland).

Ted Roop

Larche Communications


Ted Roop is the Director of Programming for Larche Communications Inc. and is also the host of the Canadian Country Spotlight. Ted has been named the Canadian Country Music Association’s Music Director of the Year and has also won the CCMA’s Personality of the Year Award. Ted has been in the radio business since 1998. He is very happily married with two children and lives just outside of Orillia, Ontario.

Paul Sanderson

Sanderson Law


Since being called to the Ontario bar in 1983, Paul Sanderson has been in private practice and has practiced entertainment and arts law exclusively. He is currently a sole practitioner in the firm Sanderson Entertainment Law which is located in the upper beaches district in Toronto. He is an instructor at Metalworks Institute of Sound and Music Production and in this position he provides education on such areas as Entertainment Agreements, Contractual and Legal Aspects of Live Show Production, and Intellectual Property.

Ashley Sperling

Cadence Music Group


Ashley Sperling is a music, technology and marketing enthusiast. She’s currently Marketing Manager at Cadence Music Group (formerly MapleMusic | Fontana North) and also teaches digital marketing classes at The Harris Institute for the Arts. She has been a digital marketing manager for Universal Music Canada, an artist management company and Luminato Festival. Ashley has managed campaigns and projects for numerous artists including Hedley, Justin Bieber, Keshia Chanté, Drake, Jann Arden, Florence & The Machine, The Bros. Landreth, Royal Wood and more.

Pete Walker

Durham Radio


Pete Walker was born in a suburb of Vancouver, grew up in a suburb of Montreal and settled in a suburb of Toronto. As a result, to this day, he’s only truly happy either in the city or out in the country. He’s been at KX96 as an on-air host and Music Director. In the past several years, he’s watched the Canadian Country Music industry grow and, given the talent assembled here this weekend, he’s optimistic about its future. In his spare time, he likes to read, play his guitar and travel.

Mark Watts

Ontario Music Fund


Mark Watts is currently a program consultant for the Ontario Music Fund (Ontario Media Development Corporation), a program that is aimed at strengthening and stimulating growth in Ontario’s music sector. Previous roles at OMDC over the past six years include administering various tax credit programs including Film & Television and Sound Recording, and serving as the Team Lead for the Intellectual Property Development Fund, a pilot program targeted at IP development. Mark is also a member of the 2017 JUNO Awards Host Committee.

Steve Wilkinson

Songwriter


The Wilkinsons – Steve Wilkinson, daughter Amanda and son Tyler – debuted in 1997. In 1998, the hit single “26 Cents”, went Top 5 U.S. on the Billboard chart and was their first of many Number Ones in Canada. With four albums, they won nine CCMA Awards, a Juno Award, and netted multiple award nominations in the US and Canada.

Nicole Wolff

Molson Coors


A graduate of Wilfrid Laurier, Nicole Wolff currently holds the position of Marketing Manager for Coors Banquet in Canada. During her tenure at Molson Coors, she has worked on the Rickard's brand, held various sales positions, and kick-started the launch of Belgian Moon in Canada. Her passion for country music and zest for building brands gives her the opportunity to sponsor some of the biggest Country Music Festivals across Canada and launch the brands' One Horse Town program, pairing small town pride and notable country music stars.

Donovan Woods

Songwriter


Splitting his time between Nashville and Toronto, Donovan Woods was raised in the small city of Sarnia, Ontario, to the sounds of country music, with a healthy dose of folk and pop – a combination that instilled in him a strong belief in the power of a good melody, the importance of everyday language and the potential of a carefully crafted song. He has worked with some of the top songwriters in North America to craft cuts for performers ranging from Tim McGraw (“Portland, Maine”) and Charles Kelley (“Leaving Nashville”) to Billy Currington (“Sweet Love”).