panelists //

butch vig | 2014 keynote speaker

record producer and drummer, Garbage

"Artist" is the single word which best describes producer, mixer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Butch Vig. Born in Viroqua, Wisconsin, his parents Doc and Betty exposed Butch to a variety of music and fine arts culture during his youth. While attending the University of Wisconsin Madison (UW), where he received a degree in filmmaking, Vig focused on experimental music composition - an area that would serve him well into the future. While at the UW, Butch jumped into the local music scene and joined the band Spooner as its drummer. Unlike most drummers, content to bang out the rhythms, Vig pursued music composition with the band and stepped behind the studio glass to shape the recorded sound as a producer.

After graduating from the UW, Butch co-founded Smart Studios and began producing and mixing albums. His perseverance as an independent producer in Madison carried far beyond Wisconsin's borders, as artists from around the country began to hear the clear, edgy, hard rock sound shaped by Butch's productions. His work with Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins and Soul Asylum in the 90s has been hailed by music critics and authors who have placed his work at the top of the decades best recordings. Additionally, Vig has created many exciting remixes for such prominent artists as U2, Beck, Korn, Alanis Morrissette, House of Pain and Nine Inch Nails.

In 1995 Vig returned to performing and writing with a band he formed that goes by the name of Garbage. The multi-platinum, Grammy Nominated band has achieved worldwide critical and commercial success as it ushered in yet another new direction for rock music. Recently, Vig has produced critically acclaimed albums for Against Me, Green Day, and The Foo Fighters, winning a Grammy for their album "Wasting Light."

Jeff Castelaz

President, Elektra Records

Jeff Castelaz is President of Elektra Records, one of the world's most renowned record labels. He oversees all areas of Elektra's activities, growing the success of existing signings and developing new talent including Cee Lo Green, Fitz And The Tantrums, Ed Sheeran, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kitten, Junior Prom, and more. A seasoned music executive and artist manager, Castelaz has played a key role in the careers of a diverse range of artists.

Castelaz co-founded Dangerbird Records and Music Publishing in 2003, building it into one of the leading independent labels on the West Coast. He signed and guided the careers of a wide range of artists including Silversun Pickups, Fitz and The Tantrums, Sea Wolf, Beady Eye, Eagles of Death Metal, Phoenix, Dropkick Murphys and Richie Sambora, among others. In addition, in 1992 he founded Cast Management, where he manages Dropkick Murphys and prolific hit-makers, record producers and songwriters such as Justin Medal-Johnsen, Tony Hoffer and Jacquire King. Furthermore, Castelaz sits on three boards: the President's Circle of The Lance Armstrong Foundation/LIVESTRONG; Radio Milwaukee, a non-commercial AAA station to which he was recruited by the philanthropist Peter Buffett; and The Pablove Foundation, a pediatric cancer charity Castelaz and his wife Jo Ann Thrailkill founded, which funds innovative pediatric research and programs that improve the lives of kids and families living with childhood cancer.

Johnny K


Johnny K has produced such notable bands as Disturbed, Staind, 3 Doors Down, Plain White T's, Finger Eleven, Megadeth, Sevendust, Drowning Pool, Adelita's Way, Trapt, Machine Head, Black Tide, and Pop Evil - to name a few. In keeping with his stylistically broad work, he also contributed to the "Oh Happy Day" compilation which won a Best Traditional Gospel Album GRAMMY in 2010. Johnny was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, where at age 22, he started recording out of a house in Evergreen Park before moving his studio to the city. His now multi-room music complex in Chicago, Groovemaster Studios, includes recording studios, rehearsal and pre-production rooms, along with views of the Chicago skyline. K recently launched his own label, Overload Music, in partnership with Executive Music Group (EMG), and his first signing - Telescope - released their debut album in 2013. Johnny K sits on the Board of Governors for the Recording Academy's Midwest/Chicago Chapter as well as serving as a Trustee for the Chapter at the national level. Johnny has also participated in the Producers & Engineers Wing event on Capitol Hill entitled "Producer Advocacy Day". This was an initiative to inform and lobby Capitol Hill Congressmen on artist's rights, radio performance royalties and protection of copyrighted music from piracy.



Mike Bachta is an Artist Manager with Working Group Artist Management, heading up the Nashville office. WGM has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, and home to artists such as Never Shout Never (Warner Bros.), The Ready Set (Razor & Tie), Junior Prom (Elektra), Matt Pond (BMG), Plug In Stereo (Atlantic), GOLDHOUSE (Priority/Capitol), Gentlemen Hall (Island), Wild Party (Old Friends/Fearless), Baby Bee (Republic), Terraplane Sun (Trauma 2), The Downtown Fiction (Fearless), For The Foxes (Hopeless), The Early November (Rise), Man Overboard (Rise), Dresses (SideOneDummy) and a good number more. Mike manages artists of various levels on the roster signed to both major and indie labels as well as developing unsigned acts. Prior to joining the Working Group Artist Management, Mike handled, most notably, Theory of a Deadman (Roadrunner, platinum-selling) and Story of the Year (Epitaph).

Sean O'keefe


Sean O'Keefe is a producer, mixer and engineer based in Chicago, IL. He is best known for his work on the break through records of Fall Out Boy, Plain White T's and Hawthorne Heights. Sean has also worked with artists such as Motion City Soundtrack, The Hush Sound, Less Than Jake, Real Friends, Company Of Thieves, Punchline and Spitalfield. He has earned three RIAA Gold Records for Fall Out Boy's "Take This To Your Grave" (producer/mixer), Hawthorne Heights "The Silence Of Black and White" (producer/mixer) and The Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah" (co-producer/mixer). "Hey There Delilah" reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot AC/Top 40 radio charts.

daniel holter

Partner, The License Lab

Music produced and composed by Daniel Holter can be heard on every major television network around the world (Mad Men, The NFL, Key & Peele, American Idol, Archer, Dexter, 20/20), as well as in movies (The Blindside, Sex & The City), video games (Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3), and commercials for some of the world's most recognizable brands (Apple, Nike, Google, Gatorade). He's mixed songs for the likes of Nick Lowe, Crowded House, Amos Lee, Over The Rhine, Los Lonely Boys, and his recording studios have hosted a select few artists (from Rihanna and Eric Benet to Maritime and Chester French). He happily left LA traffic in the rear view mirror, founded The License Lab with business partner Dennis Dunn in 2011, and currently lives in Milwaukee, WI.

peter gray


After making a name for himself at RCA Records -- where he helped a diverse roster of acts, ranging from Kelly Clarkson to Kings of Leon, score chart-toppers -- Peter Gray moved to Warner Bros., where he became the youngest head of promotion at any major, and merged the Warner Bros. and Reprise promo staffs. At Warner, Gray's hit streak has continued with a wide range of acts, including Green Day, the Black Keys, Linkin Park and Michael Buble. Yet Gray sees his role as being larger than just consistently scoring multiformat No. 1s. He notes that Warner Bros. Records "have made a clear commitment to making our company a welcome environment for artists, musicians, music executives and music fans, and I love spreading that news as far and wide as possible."

Theo Aronson


Based in New York City, Theo Aronson is dedicated to producing original music, developing cutting-edge artists and creating compelling soundtracks for advertising campaigns. The diversity of his services reflects his deep and abiding passion for all things musical. His original music has been featured in national advertising campaigns for the likes of T-Mobile, Microsoft, Walmart, and Nokia. Theo's music production credits include working with artists such as Cymbals Eat Guitars (Pitchfork Best New Music), 1,2,3 (Ooh La La/French Kiss Records), and executive producing The Last Royals (Top 10 on SiriusXM's Alt Nation). Theo splits his time between the studio and running Ooh La La Records, a boutique artist development company and record label.

Joe Paganelli


After college Joe got a job answering phones in the nightclub division at Bill Graham Presents (now Live Nation), a career choice that led to a 12 year stint promoting and producing live concerts. Joe became the General Manager of the legendary Fillmore Auditorium, booking concert series' and launching the Levi's sponsored Fillmore Sessions, a series for up and coming bands that showcased Third Eye Blind, Buckethead, Connie Champagne and Train. After moving to Los Angeles, Joe worked for Tony Scudellari, V.P. TV Music Creative at Sony Pictures. Joe placed songs in The Beast, The Unusuals, Justified, and Hawthorne, and helped develop a pre-cleared collection of independent music. He left Sony Pictures to form Shovelhead Media and has worked on numerous films including Catch .44, Bad Country, and Meeting Evil. The itch to get back into live concerts struck again and he joined up with Flavorus, a ticketing solution for live events, connecting with promoters and venues to help them improve the customer ticketing experience from A-Z. He recently signed a ticketing deal that makes Flavorus the first "on the ground" partnership with a U.S. ticketing company in China.



Mike Mowery is the president and managing partner of Outerloop Management and Outerloop Records representing an international roster of over 40 musical artists ranging from Billboard 200 chart toppers to independent artists. Mike is a former world-traveling tour manager and current music industry entrepreneur spanning metal, rock, indie, EDM, and alternative genres.



Matt started out in LA writing in the sketch comedy scene. That ended up taking him into producing when the opportunity presented itself to make a show with the co-creator of Workaholics, he jumped on it. The presentation still making its rounds through pitches, Matt took a job working at for Jerry Moss at ALMO Sounds thinking it would be short term.... and he has been there for the past 4 years. Taking every opportunity to learn from people like Jerry, it wasn't until recently that Matt took their advice and went into artist management independently. Handling a very small and selective group of artists he founded Ground Floor Management, where the emphasis is that artist development is always the main objective.

roy elkins

FOUNDER, Broadjam

Roy Elkins was born and raised in Michigan where he began his career as a musician. Shortly after moving to Memphis, he secured a job with Amro Music and soon became the top keyboard salesman in the company's five-store chain. He was heavily recruited by ENSONIQ Corporation who asked Roy to move to Washington, D.C. to acquire large market experience and he quickly became the top ENSONIQ retail salesperson in the world. Roy then joined the fledging Sonic Foundry in 1997 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing, a music software and Internet media services company based in Madison, Wisconsin. Roy left Sonic Foundry in September of 1999 and started Broadjam. Now with over 150,000 musician members, Broadjam is one of the most influential music sites in the world. Broadjam's consulting group has indexed the works of Gershwin, Usher, Green Day, India.Arie, Madonna and Led Zeppelin and it's customer list includes ASCAP, Academy of Country Music, Warner Chappell, Warner Music Group, Yamaha, and many others.

brandon tushkowski

creative director, GMR Marketing

Brandon has been in the graphic design business since 1996, starting out serving in various roles with small shops as a graphic artist. After a stint at The Rave/Eagles Ballroom as the 1 man in-house graphic design shop, he worked at Conversion Media designing CD packaging for bands. From there, Brandon moved into the advertising world and he has worn many hats as a Graphic Artist, Art Director, Design Director and Creative Director. He now holds the position of Creative Director for the Design Group at GMR Marketing.

Chris Sernel

Songwriter/Producer at APG

Chris Sernel (aka Oh, Hush!) is an LA and Chicago-based Grammy nominated songwriter/producer published by APG/Warner Chappell (Mike Caren). He has cuts with Cobra Starship, Cee Lo Green, Jason Derulo, J Lo, Makeshift Prodigy, Jaime Grace, and Loreen. As one of APG's most successful TV/movie writers, he's worked with Disney (Austin & Ally, Dog with a Blog, Liv and Maddie, Shake It Up) and Dreamworks. Chris has placed songs in global blockbusters (Twilight), network hits (American Idol, 90210, Mindy Project, Revenge), and with worldwide brands (Nutella, Sears, Coca-Cola).



Josh Brinkman began his career in late 2000 as an intern at Primary Talent in London, England. After a short return to Milwaukee to finish his degree at Marquette University, Josh moved to Chicago to work at Monterey International in 2001, beginning in the "mail room". His path to becoming an agent has covered all facets and corners of an agency. Josh currently represents Trampled By Turtles, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, The Budos Band, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Joe Pug, Hurray for The Riff Raff, as well as others domestically and internationally.



Johnny Gradone is the Director of A&R and Artist Management for Zavitson Music Group. ZMG is a music publishing and artist management company based in the historic Belmont district of Nashville, TN with an expansive roster of artists and songwriters. Gradone works specifically with artist development, management, talent scouting, and serves as the in-house agent for ZMG. He is also actively involved with the company's publishing efforts, cooPHOTrdinating pitches to A&R and management for acts like Garth Brooks, The Band Perry, Florida Georgia Line, and more. Gradone has been involved in the indie rock scene for over 8 years working with several artists, talent buyers, promoters, and TV/Film supervisors. Recently, his work has been integral with the band MODOC, building their touring scope to 150 shows in one year's time and adds to multiple major festivals including Austin City Limits Festival, Summerfest, Bunbury Festival, and Loufest to name a few. Always excited to find new artists, Gradone is actively involved in scouting for fresh talent. ZMG is filled with musical diversity that absolutely mirrors the current state of the Nashville music scene, with an artist roster of Rock, Pop, R&B, Americana, and Country.



Jeremy Weiss has owned and operated independent record label CI Records for more than 20 years, working with veterans and new artists alike. Most recently the label has helped launch the careers of bands such as August Burns Red, The Pink Spiders, and Texas In July. In 2012, Weiss accepted the position of President of Think Loud Entertainment, signing indie mainstays The Shackletons & Pop/Americana artist Dana Alexandra. Under the moniker CI Productions, Weiss has been promoting concerts for more than 25 years in Central Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area. Jeremy also has artist management, design, and booking companies, and notably, has owned an independent record store specializing in vinyl for the last 20 years. He is the founder and director of LAUNCH Music Conference & Festival in Lancaster PA, hosting more than 175 performances and 3 days of panels and workshops each April.

Emily White

Co-Founder, Whitesmith Entertainment and Readymade Records

Milwaukee native Emily White is the co-founder of New York and L.A. Management and consulting firm, Whitesmith Entertainment specializing in music, comedy and sports. Additionally, White co-founded Readymade Records & Publishing with her artist Brendan Benson in 2012. Whitesmith's roster includes Benson, The Hush Sound, Urge Overkill, The Autumn Defense, Future Monarchs, Hockey, The Big Sleep W. Kamau Bell, Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin and political sports expert Dave Zirin; amongst others. White's background spans the industry including positions at or in Live Nation Artists, Madison House Inc., tour management, PR, radio, TV, and concert promotion. Additionally White sits on music technology non-profit CASH Music's board.

Eric David Johnson


Eric David Johnson (aka DJ Bunny Ears): though truly rooted as an independent artist/musician, Eric is an award-winning music supervisor/music producer, advertising industry veteran with 14+ years experience, working first at Wieden + Kennedy then at Young & Rubicam New York, DDB Chicago and now as Executive Producer at Search Party Music.



Wendy Schneider has been working in media production since 1982. The creative force behind a range of independent projects including an audio documentary on the Civil Rights Movement, an award-winning CD compilation protesting the Iraq War, audio soundscapes for children, and the ground-breaking documentary, CUT: Teens and Self Injury, winner of the "Best Wisconsin Film" award at the Beloit International Film Festival. A long-time community and DIY media activist, her projects are dedicated to bringing creativity and significance to stories and topics. Schneider began engineering and producing at Smart Studios in 1992, In 1994 she opened her own multi-track recording facility, started a band and continued producing and collaborating on projects for indie/major record labels (Alternative Tentacles, Relapse, Polyvinyl). A well-known figure in Madison's rock music scene, she has toured the US extensively and released two albums, "Bugatti Type 35" and "Traction".

ken komisar

laundry room productions

Ken's Laundry Room Productions is an independent A&R and marketing company. Through Laundry Room, he has provided A&R services for licensing, branding and talent acquisition, working with a vast array of artists and companies ranging from Michael Jackson to Jennifer Lopez, the NFL and BET. Komisar also served as President of Tennman Records, Justin Timberlake's label with Interscope Records, from 2006 through 2011. During this same period, Ken was also the West Coast Manager for management label DAS Communications, Ltd., working with the Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield, Reeve Carney (Broadway's Spiderman) and Carney. Prior to that, Ken spent 17 years with Sony Music in a few different capacities - VP of A&R for Sony Music, A&R and General Manager of Michael Jackson's MJJ Music, and Senior Director of A&R for Epic Records. With well over 20 years experience in relationship building and working with diverse artists, Ken holds a unique position in the entertainment industry. He's well versed in music from virtually every genre and deeply committed to discovering and developing the next generation of international superstars.

howard hertz

Co-Founder Hertz Schram PC

Howard Hertz formed the law firm of Hertz Schram, PC with Bradley Schram in 1979. He specializes in entertainment law and is the lead attorney of Hertz Schram’s Entertainment Practice Group. Since 1976 he has represented numerous artists and entities in the entertainment field, including George Clinton, Sippie Wallace, The Romantics, The Bass Brothers, Eminem, Marilyn Manson, Pantera, Mike Posner, and Atlantic Records. Among the many organizations and honors to Mr. Hertz’s credit, he is a member of the Board of Directors and President of the Detroit Music Awards Foundation, a member of MusiCares Program and Services Committee, a member of the Board of Directors of the Sphinx Organization, and a member of the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers. He is named as a Michigan Super Lawyer, is included in The Best Lawyers in America and was awarded the 2004 John Hensel Award for significant contributions to the arts community.

bonny dolan

Executive Producer and Artist Liaison, Comma Music

Not only does she work with in-house composers to produce original music for ad campaigns, she's an expert at sourcing, securing and properly licensing music and responsible for Comma's expansion into music supervision. Reflecting her diverse musical taste, she has worked with acts including Cyndi Lauper, Andrew Bird, Raphael Saadiq, Phoenix, Colbie Caillat, Lykke Li, Duran Duran, Eagles of Death Metal and the Swell Season. In her former role as VP at Leo Burnette, she brokered deals between Kellogg's and Collective Soul, McDonald's and Cheap Trick and organized the production of the licensing deal between Allstate and The Beatles ("When I'm Sixty-Four"). Indeed, she has been a true pioneer in the world of branded entertainment. Bonny Currently sits on the Board of Governors for the Recording Academy's Midwest/Chicago Chapter.

martin atkins


Martin Atkins is the definition of entrepreneurial activity in cultural arts endeavors. Having experience in nearly every aspect of record production and promotion has given Martin a unique perspective not only on where the music industry is currently, but where it is going in the future. After playing drums in a variety of English bands, Martin auditioned for and subsequently joined Johnny Rotten's Public Image Limited in 1979. After touring the world with P.i.L and contributing to several more studio albums Martin left the group in 1985. Over the next five years, he played with and managed Killing Joke and toured with Ministry. In 1990, while on tour with Ministry, he formed his own band, Pigface. He also worked with Nine Inch Nails, performing on the Grammy award winning "Wish" and appearing in the "Head like a Hole" video. Martin began working on the business side of music in 1988 when he formed Invisible Records and then Mattress Factory Studios in 1996. Over two decades Invisible has released over 350 albums and has had placements spanning from the original Miami Vice to Showtime's Queer as Folk to Robert Altman's The Company. Atkins wrote his book Tour:Smart in 2007 and has since spoken around the world at major industry conferences, recognized universities, and nonprofit organizations.

kurt kempen

talent buyer and festival coordinator, mile of music

Kurt Kempen has served as festival coordinator in charge of talent procurement for the Mile of Music in August of 2013 and for the recent Mile 2 festival, which overtook Downtown Appleton with four days of original music. Kempen, working in tandem with Music Curator Cory Chisel, recruited 218 singer-songwriters and bands from more than 20 states to play original music at 60 venues in the downtown and along the riverfront. Kempen's work with agents, promoters and band leaders included scheduling more than 620 sets at the multitude of venues. Kempen is currently scheduling Extra Mile showcases and is working on the New Year's Eve event. Prior to Mile of Music, Kempen had been involved with several events promoting original music and the community, and currently works independently as a booking agent and band manager.

kenny ornberg


Kenny has 26 of experience in regional and national Major Label promotion , having been with Warner Reprise, Mercury, MCA, and Interscope/Geffen/A&M. He's a three time "PROMOTION PERSON OF THE YEAR" recipient and two term Governor with the Midwest/Chicago Chapter of The Recording Academy (NARAS Ð the GRAMMY organization).

jeff mcclusky

ceo and founder, Jeff McClusky & Associates

Jeff has played a pivotal role in the exposure of music and contemporary recording artists including Vampire Weekend, Pearl Jam, Kings Of Leon, U2 and The Rolling Stones among countless others. Over three decades, Jeff and JMA have continually recreated the methods through which entertainment content is channeled to reach its target audience. Jeff has used his extensive network of relationships as a music consultant and strategic intermediary between consumer brands, advertising agencies, mobile service providers, and the music industry. Additionally, JMA and the McClusky family - including Jeff's wife, Jill, and their daughters, Lauren and Rachel - are deeply committed to Special Olympics and have volunteered in the organization's music CD initiatives, entertainment, and fundraising around the world. Jeff and his family are also active as a board governor for Opportunity International.

Peter J. Strand

Partner, Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler

His clients include content providers and content creators including media companies, television and radio broadcasters, authors, songwriters, recording artists, musicians, television and film writers, independent record labels, independent film producers and documentarians, publishing companies, and production companies. Peter was recently elected a National Trustee of the Recording Academy (the GRAMMY organization) representing the Midwest/Chicago Chapter and he is the immediate past President of the Board of Governors for the Chapter. Strand has been named a "Leading Lawyer" in Arts, Entertainment and Sports in Illinois from 2003 - 2010 and a "Leading Business Lawyer" in Media & Entertainment Law in Illinois, 2006 through 2010, in Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers. Before becoming an attorney, Peter played and recorded as a full time touring musician with several bands and recorded two albums for RCA/Millennium Records.

adam powers

Talent Buyer, The Elbo Room

Adam Powers has over 10 years of live entertainment industry experience working for some of the biggest companies in the industry. He is currently the Talent Buyer for the Chicago venue The Elbo Room where he books 5-7 shows a week and oversees all concert logistics. He also works closely with Live Nation and House of Blues. For Live Nation Entertainment, his company AMP Media has been responsible for overseeing the Digital Content Marketing Team in North America. This is a large team of over 50 photographers, videographers and marketing specialist whom gather marketing materials from live entertainment concerts. These materials are used for any of Live Nation marketing outlets.

Adam Lewis

Co-Owner of Planetary Group

Adam has worked with such acts as The Decemberists, Bloc Party, Peter, Bjorn & John, Apples In Stereo, Kings Of Leon, and The Lemonheads. In addition, Lewis also handles all publicity, promotion and media buying for Great Northeast Productions. Great Northeast is responsible for producing 50 shows a year throughout New England, including Phish's annual Snoe.down Festival at Lake Placid. Prior to Planetary, Adam was the Northeast Sales and Promotion Manager for TVT Records, working with Sevendust, Guided By Voices, The Black Crowes and Snoop Dogg. Some of Adam's latest projects have been providing opportunities for independent artists by coordinating tours to China, India, and Singapore.

Steve Hutton


After graduating law school in 1993 Stephen Hutton started Uppercut Management. Shortly thereafter he began managing a skinny white rapper from Detroit. During his eight years as an Uppercut artist, Kid Rock sold over 14 million records, toured the world, sold out numerous arenas, got arrested a few times and was even nominated for a Grammy. Stephen has worked with a number of successful artists over the years including Big Kenny (Big & Rich), Better Than Ezra, Pixie Lott, All That Remains, Louis XIV, The Heavy, Dom, etc. In addition, Stephen manages a small roster of songwriters who have written several #1 singles. Uppercut recently joined forces with Primary Wave Music - who publish Kurt Cobain and manage CeeLo Green among others - where Stephen serves as Head of the Rock Management Division as well also running a publishing co-venture. Besides his work as a manger, Stephen also serves as a marketing consultant and has worked with clients like Citibank and MasterCard.

ken abdo

Vice President, Lommen Abdo Law Firm / Chair, Entertainment Law Department

Ken Abdo is Chair of Lommen Abdo Law Firm's Entertainment Law Department which has served as legal counsel to music, film, TV, theatre, literary publishing and media artists for 30 years. Clients include multiple Grammy award recipients, gold and platinum recording artist's motion picture and Emmy award winning TV talent and productions, regional and Broadway theater talent and productions, literary authors and media talent. Following earlier years as a musician and entertainer, his legal career has been recognized for successful work with developing artists, legacy artists, and music artist estates. His commitment to artist advocacy and the legal profession have led him to national leadership positions with The Recording Academy, The American Bar Association and other organizations. He is a co-author of the textbook "Law and Business of the Entertainment Industries." He was again selected to "Best Lawyers in America" in 2014 and has earned Martindale Hubbell's "AV Preeminent" rating.

Piet Levy

music reporter, milwaukee journal sentinel

Piet Levy has been the music reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel since July 2012, where he interviews international touring acts; reviews concerts; reports on local music; covers major music events like Summerfest, SXSW and Lollapalooza; writes about music trends; and arranges for exclusive video band performances and interviews. His first work with the Journal Sentinel was as a features intern in 2005; he was a frequent contributor in the years that followed. Piet's been published in USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post and elsewhere, and his work has been awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press Managing Editors association, the Society for Features Journalists, and Editor and Publisher magazine. His very first concert was the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Coming Out Of Their Shell Tour" at the Bradley Center in 1990. His tastes have (arguably) improved since then.

Sue Schrader

Blind Ambition Management & Blonde Ambition Public Relations

Sue Schrader has spent the past two decades in the music and media industries, specializing in publicity and promotion. She was the Director of Media Relations for a division of EMI Records from 1990-2005 and prior to that did publicity for the Miller Band Network. Her work spans all genres from pop, rock, and blues to world, country, and Latin music. As a testament to that fact, she has worked with such artists as The Blind Boys of Alabama, the Neville Brothers, Charlie Musselwhite, John Hammond, the Subdudes, Cracker, Jeff Lorber, Afro Celt Sound System, Ramsey Lewis, Lila Downs, Freddy Fender, Alta, Kathy Mattea, Ruthie Foster, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and many others. She combines strategy and publicity skills to achieve desired results for her clients and has garnered significant national press and network TV in recent campaigns, including placements on The Tonight Show, Regis & Kelly, USA Today, the New York Times, Vanity Fair and countless other media outlets.



Jen Kellogg started her career working for SCOPE Productions at the University of Iowa before becoming a talent buyer at Jam Productions. As part of a team at Jam, she bought for theatres, arenas and stadiums. Jen was instrumental in developing tours in minor league baseball parks with artists including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Def Leppard, Bryan Adam and the Counting Crows. She is currently the tour accountant for the Vans Warped Tour. Jen is not only an expert in large outdoor concert productions but has produced and settled shows in every type of venue imaginable. She shares her knowledge with the next generation of concert industry professionals by teaching Producing and Touring Live Performances at Columbia College Chicago and Co-Founding The Entertainment Institute.

Brian Waymire

partner / agent, the agency coalition

Brian Waymire is a founding partner and agent at The Agency Coalition, who exclusively books Nappy Roots, Josh Gracin, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Trent Tomlinson, Street Corner Symphony, Bubba Sparxxx, Julie Roberts, Gabe Dixon and more. As an artist manager and booking agent, Brian has developed several artists from local markets to international touring acts. He served on the Board of Directors for NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) from 2012-2013 and led the Associate Advisory Council to the board until May 2014. Brian is also the co-founder and Executive Director of RedGorilla Music Fest. In March of 2002, RedGorilla started with only four artists on one stage in Austin, TX. The event now showcases over 400 artists each year, making it one of the largest indie music festivals in the world.

Heather R. Liberman

associate, Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler, LLC

Heather R. Liberman is an associate at Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler, LLC where she represents transactional and litigation clients in the areas of copyright, trademark and entertainment law. Heather has also worked as a licensing agent responsible for the clearance of musical compositions and sound recordings for multiple film and audio releases. Heather is the Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Media & Entertainment Committee and a member of the Associate Board of Lawyers for the Creative Arts.

tim jones

co-founder, pipe & hat

Jones is a co-founder of Canadian indie label and artist development firm, Pipe & Hat. Consisting of a past and present international roster of more than a dozen acts, Pipe & Hat has launched artists into a steady path of success, including WCMA nominations, consistent national charting, collaboration with Grammy nominated producers, and showcases at SXSW, Sled Island, Liverpool Sound City, NXNE, CMW, Pop Montreal, Winnipeg Folk Festival, and countless others.

jeff becker


Jeff Becker is Chairman of the Entertainment & Media Law Practice Group at the Chicago-based law firm of Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP. His practice includes a focus on entertainment and media-related transactions and litigation for an array of clients, including recording artists, songwriters, producers, actors, screenwriters, theatrical producers and playwrights and various entertainment-related businesses. For these clients, Jeff provides comprehensive representation in the preparation, analysis and negotiation of a variety of legal issues, including licensing and distribution rights, royalty negotiations and disputes, rights acquisition and clearances, production and performance agreements, complex litigation and dispute resolution and more.

Ralph Covert

Songwriter, Musician, Producer, Label And Studio Owner, Author, Playwright, Educator

He is the creator of Ralph's World, the pioneering rock'n'roll band that transformed children's music with its album debut in 2001 and subsequent tours bringing real music and musicianship to families in the places parents go to hear their own favorite performers: The House Of Blues, Knitting Factory, The Fillmore, Ravinia and Lollapalooza. With more than a half-dozen discs on Disney and the newest on hip indie label BarNone, a Grammy nom, Parents' Magazine Video Of The Year, over a dozen music videos seen by millions on Playhouse Disney and Nickelodeon, four acclaimed illustrated books, magazine cover stories, commercials using RW music, Ralph Covert connects with entire families in a way that moves their hearts while motivating their feet. He's also the indie rocker of The Bad Examples fame, the Midwestern band that scored regional hits in the early 90's while also achieving solid success in Europe with songs such as "Not Dead Yet," "Any Twisted Thing," and "One Perfect Moment."

Althea Legaspi

Columnist and writer for MTV Buzzworthy and MTV Hive

Althea Legaspi is a freelance music critic/journalist based in Chicago. She writes for Chicago Tribune, MTV News and USA Today. Her work has also appeared in Independent UK, Magnet, Time Out, and Playboy, among others. In addition to writing, she serves as a music curator for ReverbNation. She's produced and reported on-air stories for NPR-affiliate WBEZ, which have aired on "Eight Forty-Eight," "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered" and "Worldview." Althea has also been an on-camera correspondent for,, PBS' "Soundstage" and the local PBS-run television show "Sound Opinions," and has co-hosted Q101's "Local 101."

gary kuzminski


Gary is the marketing director for CIMMfest (Chicago International Movies & Music Festival); a five-day festival that takes place the every May. Within the span of 5 short years, CIMMfest has established itself as one of the "go to" film & music festivals in the country. Gary also developed and currently teaches the interactive advertising curriculum at Columbia College Chicago, and co-founded the guerrilla art/music/media group, JaGoFF. He got his start during the desktop publishing revolution of the early 1990's, as the art director for the landmark youth-culture magazine Reactor, and went on to help pioneer the look of the early rave/techno scene. His artwork has since graced the campaigns of many Fortune 500 companies. In 2000, he founded as an RIAA culture jam. What began as a fully functioning parody, became a touchstone for hundreds of thousands of independent artists, academics & industry professionals. Gary is also a featured speaker on the subjects of interactive & social media, guerrilla marketing, technology & the music industry.

bruce krippner

talent buyer, martyrs, chicago

Bruce Krippner has been booking, promoting, and producing shows at Martyrs', one of Chicago's most loved mid-sized music venues, for the last 15 years. He has also acted in the capacities of manager, agent, publicist and performer for several bands in Chicago over the last 23 years.

Sean McDonough

Senior Promoter, Midwest, Live Nation / House of Blues / Bottom Lounge, Chicago

Photo and bio coming soon!

Tyler Rehm

Founder/Agent, TR Agency

Tyler is the owner and founder of the TR Agency, located in Madison WI. He graduated from Madison Media Institute in 2009, where he then worked for SRO Artists, a boutique booking agency in Middleton, WI. After two years of working in the mailroom and becoming a junior agent, Tyler decided to start and run his own agency, which now has over 25 acts, and is still growing. Tyler works primarily with independent artists, helping grow and develop their fan base through strategic touring.

John Sepetys

Sr. Director of A&R, North Star Media

Fusing over two decades of music business experience with his sharp creative instincts and unwavering enthusiasm, John shines in his ability to consistently source and develop exceptional songs, artists and writers for any project or opportunity. Sepetys joined the North Star Media team in November 2012. As North Star's Senior Director of A&R, he assists and consults North Star artists through all stages of the creative process, while also staying forever on the hunt for fresh, exciting new talent. Sepetys also places music in film, television, advertisements, and all new media. Prior to joining North Star, Sepetys headed up the A&R efforts for Banshee Music, a division of GMR Marketing, LLC headquartered in Milwaukee, WI. While with Banshee, Sepetys directed song creation and talent selection for NFL Official Gameday Music. Other client highlights included Hershey's, E! Network, Fox Sports, and Full Throttle.