SVP of Creator, SoundCloud
Tracy Chan, SVP of Creator, SoundCloud, oversees SoundCloud’s Creator ecosystem globally, including tools, services, products and offerings. He’s responsible for evolving a feature-rich SoundCloud for Artists product for independent artists as they take their careers to the next level on and off SoundCloud. Previously, Chan was the VP, Head of Music at Twitch, where he led the growth of the music vertical by enabling creators to interact with their fans live and empowering those fans to directly support their favorite creators. Under his leadership, Twitch forged first-of-kind partnerships with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Merlin, the National Music Publishers Associations and PROs/CMOs around the world.
Chan joined Twitch from Spotify where he was the Director of Product Management, primarily focused on leading product strategy and development for Creator platforms and developing analytics tools for artists and labels, including Spotify for Artists and Spotify Analytics. Chan’s startup CrowdAlbum, a social, photo, and video aggregator that created a “visual history” of musical events from around the world, was acquired by Spotify in 2016. Prior to founding CrowdAlbum, Chan was a product manager at YouTube, where he designed and launched YouTube Insight, the company’s flagship analytics platform for Creators. In 2022, Chan was named to Billboard’s Power List, Fast Company’s Creator 25 and in 2020 to Rolling Stone’s Future 25.
VP, Marketing, Hopeless Records
Erin Choi is the VP, Marketing of Los Angeles-based, independent label, Hopeless Records. Founded in 1993, Hopeless Records represents some of the largest names in independent music, including Sum 41, Neck Deep, PVRIS, Foxing, and The Wonder Years, and launched the careers of All Time Low and Avenged Sevenfold.
Erin started her career as an intern in 2004. Since then, Erin has held multiple leadership positions in marketing, licensing and sync, production, and operations. She landed several high profile synch partnerships with brands like Cartoon Network, ESPN, and MTV. Her unique knowledge of both operations and marketing led her to become a product manager in 2017. As a product manager, Erin led campaigns for over 10 top ten album debuts across multiple countries including the #4 album debut in the US and UK for Neck Deep’s The Peace And The Panic.
With over 17 years in the music industry, she is currently the lead product manager and head of marketing, overseeing domestic and international creative strategy for 30+ artists. She also serves as the head of marketing for Hopeless Records’ non-profit organization, Sub City. To date, Sub City has raised over $2.5 million dollars.
VP, Digital Accounts, WMX Global Commercial Services
Nina Collins is the Vice President, Digital Accounts for WMX Global Commercial Services and oversees
the Warner Music Group’s relationship with Amazon across all verticals. Prior to joining WMG, Nina
held senior level positions at BMG and the formerly merged SonyBMG where she was responsible for
growing their Non-Traditional Retail and Custom Product segments.
Nina began her career in the music business at BMG in the newly formed Special Products division
holding positions in both Operations and Sales. After that company merged with Sony, Nina continued
managing the strategic development of the Custom Products division. Moving on to the Warner Music
Group as VP, Custom Sales at Rhino Records and then to WEA Distribution, Nina began overseeing the
Amazon Physical Audio business. The need to centralize all Amazon businesses under one lead at WMX
was identified and the position was created. Nina took on that role and today, she and her team are
integral to the global strategy for all WMG artists in the Amazon ecosystem.
In addition to the day-to-day, Nina is also a member of the Music Biz Scholarship Selection Committee.
General Manager, mtheory
Michael began his music career booking bands at Villanova University in the mid-1990’s. Upon
graduation, a 7 year journey on the road followed with tour and production management gigs for
Guster, Ben Kweller, Phantom Planet and others. He transitioned off the road in the mid 2000’s,
relocated to Nashville and began working in management. Over the next 13 years, Michael
worked with such artists as Alison Krauss, Michael Franti, Alexi Murdoch, Landon Pigg and Jars
of Clay at Nettwerk Management and Borman Entertainment. Michael joined mtheory in 2017
and works with management teams to build out planning and marketing for artists like Tyler
Childers, Zac Brown Band, Kacey Musgraves and Jelly Roll.
SVP, Global Business, EMPIRE
Elliott is a lawyer and seasoned digital media and technology executive with deep and varied global experience in digital content, licensing and technology transactions, securities and mergers and acquisitions and representing both major licensees and licensors.
As Senior Vice President, Global Business, at EMPIRE, Elliott works with the EMPIRE team to facilitate new digital distribution, promotional, investment, acquisitions and other business opportunities in support of EMPIRE’s world class roster of talent.
Prior to EMPIRE, he held senior leadership positions at SoundCloud, Rdio, Apple iTunes, and Warner Music Group, and also provided significant consulting services for several companies including Luminary Media (podcasting), Evil Genius Productions (RPG built on the Wizards of the Coast D&D platform featuring Cinematic Adventures based on iconic 80’s movies), and Laugh Radio (an online streaming service that focused on original and licensed comedy).
Elliott began his legal career practicing securities and mergers & acquisitions in the New York, London and Hong Kong offices of Shearman & Sterling.
VP of Community and Social Engagement, Downtown Music Holdings
Lisa Robinson is the Vice President of Community and Social Engagement at Downtown Music Holdings, a role that was created for her. In this role, Lisa brings a focus to volunteering initiatives, charitable giving and is deeply committed to initiatives focused on community and bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion to the workplace. She was a founding member of Downtown’s first ERG, Black Power in Music (BPM) as well as President and Founder of Lisa’s Living Room, an organization with a mission to educate, empower and promote conversation. She is also a member of Music Biz’s Education committee, an advisory board member of Scholarship Plus and an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Lisa joined Downtown brand Songtrust in 2019 to establish and lead a team dedicated to the tracking and recovering of worldwide publishing revenue for more than 2MM songs. Prior to joining Songtrust, Lisa led income tracking activities for BMG Rights Management as well as for the Harry Fox Agency (HFA), where she spearheaded the creation of the organization’s first Income Tracking department. Lisa began her career in income tracking at EMI Music Publishing. Due to her music publishing expertise, Lisa has appeared on a number of music industry panels.
D. Tobago Benito
Owner, DBS Sounds, Inc.
D. Tobago Benito, a music pioneer, and community legend has been passionate from birth. He was born in Arima Trinidad where he learned his immeasurable work ethic from his Grandmother. Joining the workforce at the young age of 5 years old, he has been no stranger to understanding the values of leadership and ambition. He spent his teen/early adult years in Queens, New York where he continued that work ethic and found his passion in music. There he met his wife, had his daughter, and formulated a plan to move to the “Dirty South” and hopped on a plane to Atlanta, GA for new beginnings.
Upon arriving in Atlanta, he quickly founded his independent retail music store, DBS Sounds in the year of 1994. With his persistence and a fierce drive to be the best, after multiple store locations, millions of record sales, and tons of music in-store events; his veteran company has positioned itself as the premier sources for retail music in the country. DBS Sounds is strategic in marketing and breaking out new and established artists and provides excellent marketing for record companies and independent labels in the music industry. All the while ensuring its customers the highest quality of service.
In addition to owning his own retail music store, he created Forever a Music Store (FAMS), which is a music coalition and collective of 28 independently Black owned record stores throughout the country. FAMS was founded in 2021 with the vision to shed light on Black owned indie retail music stores and to celebrate their contribution to the music industry while also servicing our communities.
Besides being described as a music industry legend by many, and a genuine family man, he is also a member of “I Am Black Atlanta” and a proud mentor to young men. He also does residential and commercial real estate as an agent for Integrity Professionals Realty.
Tobago attributes all his blessings to God and therefore makes it a priority to serve on his Church’s Usher board. All in all, Mr. Benito is not only an active and effective member of the business, he is also an exemplary figure of entrepreneurship, hard work, compassion and community leadership.
SVP, Commercial Marketing, Motown Records
Recently joining Motown in this new role, Caiaffa works with label partners to guide strategy and execution across campaigns that drive commercial results. Caiaffa served as the Interim Head of Music at Soundcloud where he drove brand definition, market differentiation, and cultural relevance within label and music community. There, he led the charge in branding Soundcloud into a premier audio and artist development platform through programming and unique partnership initiatives.
Caiaffa has previously worked at both Interscope Records and Def Jam Recordings earlier in his career. After starting as a marketing assistant at Interscope Records, he made his transition to Def Jam Recordings where he developed from product manager to SVP Of Marketing. During his tenure at Def Jam, he orchestrated & guided teams across promotions, product development, marketing, and digital on development strategies & launches for a handful of #1 debuts for iconic Hip Hop & R&B acts.
Gray Gannaway is the Founder of Quarterlab, a media distribution company that specializes in video strategy and rights management. The company, which helps brands and artists reach wider audiences and increase revenue through video content, oversees content strategy for clients such as Lil Wayne, Passenger, Jill Scott, Run The Jewels, Audiomack, Joe Budden, and The Roots. With a 20-year history negotiating direct deals on behalf of independents with platforms such as Apple, Spotify, and Google, Gannaway has an intense passion for helping underrepresented creators thrive in the music industry and beyond.
Prior to launching Quarterlab, Gannaway spent more than a decade in business and corporate development, strategic partnerships, licensing, and marketing. From 2003 to 2009, he served as Senior VP of Business Development for CD Baby, the world’s largest all-independent music store on the web. Gannaway has consulted for companies such as Google, Scion, CD Baby, Empire Distribution, Rumblefish, and Kill Rock Stars. As a guest speaker, Gannaway has both moderated and been featured at numerous industry-leading conferences such as Music Biz, MIDEM, SXSW, Bandwidth, SF MusicTech, and Canadian Music Week.
Lasanna “Ace” Harris
VP of A&R, REACH Records
Multi-platinum music producer and executive, Lasanna “Ace” Harris, is the VP of A&R at Atlanta-based independent Hip Hop label, Reach Records, and CEO/co-founder of Caranda Creative, a music collective which specializes in production, management, and publishing. At Reach Records, Ace scouts talents, produces, and oversees creative projects for their roster of artists including Lecrae, 1K Phew, Andy Mineo, Tedashii, Trip Lee, Wande, Hulvey, WHATUPRG, and more. He has topped the Billboard Charts producing hit singles for Lil Wayne, T.I. ft Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill ft. Kendrick Lamar, and Koffee. He produced the title track for Koffee’s debut album, Rapture (2019), which won a GRAMMY in the Best Reggae Album category at the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards.
A preacher’s kid, Ace has a passion for curating music with a purposeful intention and message and was introduced to Reach Records’ co-founder, president, and artist, Lecrae, in 2010. He produced three songs on Lecrae’s fourth studio album, Rehab, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Gospel Album and Anomaly which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 and Gospel charts marking the first time that any artist had ever topped both charts simultaneously. The album also won Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year at the 2015 GMA Dove Awards and Rap, Hip Hop Gospel CD of the Year at The Stellar Awards. The successful creative relationship with Lecrae led to Ace producing songs for the other artists on the Reach Records and led to a position as the label’s Director of A&R in 2017.
Founder & CEO, Sound Royalties
Upon recognizing the sizable need for funding options that cater to music professionals and allow creatives to retain their copyrights, Alex Heiche founded Sound Royalties in 2014 and serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
A respected thought leader in the music business, Alex has shared his knowledge and insights at many industry events with organizations including the Recording Academy, SXSW, BESLA, the American Bar Association, the North American Law Summit, the Music Managers Forum, AIMP, Cutting Edge Law Conference, NYC3, Sync Summit, and others. As an advocate for the next generation of music industry leaders, Alex volunteers his time as a guest educator at schools like Vanderbilt University and Belmont University. Additionally, Alex’s expert opinions have been featured in top publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Music Business Worldwide, The Tennessean, Music Connection, Digital Music News, and more. He is also a contributor for the Rolling Stone Culture Council.
Prior to founding Sound Royalties, Alex held executive roles in specialty finance firms and high-tech software companies. Alex graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. He currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Music Biz Association, and is a member of the Recording Academy, Songwriters of North America, the Gospel Music Association, the Country Music Association, the Americana Music Association, A2IM, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Association International, and is a lifetime member of BESLA and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
General Director and Publishing Director, Rimas Publishing & Rimas Entertainment
Emilio Morales has led the development, growth and expansion of Rimas Publishing as the Director of Publishing at Rimas Entertainment, and General Director at RSM Publishing (ASCAP), Risamar Publishing (BMI), and Megasongs Publishing (SESAC). Together with his team, he administers and manages all licenses for the publishing catalog of artists including Bad Bunny, Mora, Eladio Carrión, Subelo NEO, Pailita, Cris MJ, Marcianeke, Corina Smith, Tempo, DJ Negro, Lizzy Parra and many others, for all types of commercial uses including film, television and advertising. Together with RSM Publishing, Morales has received several GRAMMY awards and 31 ASCAP awards, and more than 10 BMI LATIN awards with Risamar Publishing. Most recently, RSM was named the 2022 Billboard Latin Publisher of the Year.
Founder, Owner & Chief Executive, GoDigital Media Group
Jason Peterson is the founder, owner, and Chief Executive of GoDigital Media Group (godigital.com) a diversified multi-national holding company that owns nine operating businesses across three verticals in media IP rights management: (i) music, (ii) video, and (iii) brands Peterson is an entrepreneur, attorney, and producer named as one of the ‘Top 50 Indie’, ‘Top 40 under 40’ and ‘Top Latin’ Power Players in music by Billboard; ‘Top 40 under 40’ in home entertainment by Media Play News; and as one of the ‘Top 30 entrepreneurs under 30’ by Los Angeles Business Journal.
Artists and repertoire Peterson has worked with include Janet Jackson, T.I., Master P, Jason Derulo, Pitbull, Psy and Daddy Yankee. He has produced dozens of major music videos that have won “Video of the Year” at the Gospel Music Awards, MTV Latin Video Music Awards as well as “Best Directorial Debut” at the MVPA awards. Most recently he co-produced the video for Janet Jackson and Daddy Yankee’s “Made for Now”.
He currently or previously has provided leadership to the following boards and committees:
• American Association of Independent Music (A2iM): the trade group for American independent labels
• Association of Volleyball Professionals (the AVP): was a founding member of the Executive Advisory Board to the national professional sports league for beach volleyball
• City of Hope Hospital: Music, Film & Entertainment Board, which has raised over $130M for cancer research since 2000.
• MERLIN: the global collective bargaining organization for independent labels that represents 15% of the global market for recorded music and is roughly the size of Warner Music Group.
• OTT.x (formerly the Entertainment Merchants Association): representing the US home entertainment industry with a focus on the over-the-top eco-system.
• RD.x a joint venture between IFPI, WIN, and PPL in the UK building a global repertoire database for music licensing collectives.
• Stanford Disruptive Technologies Council: A part of the engineering school that collaborates with technology leaders around the world on the future of tech enabled services.
• The Recording Academy Government Advocacy Committee
• USC Business Cinematic-Arts Program Advisory Board responsible for career development and curriculum feedback
• World Independent Network (WIN): representing and advocating for the global independent recorded music community
Founder & CEO, Syntax Creative
Timothy J. Trudeau began his professional journey in the music business in 1997. Since then, he has produced for GRAMMY-nominated artists, designed Stellar-nominated album art, released Dove-nominated albums on his own record label, and became a distribution executive with clients who’ve won all three. As the CEO of Syntax Creative — a digital distribution and marketing company boasting the exclusive worldwide rights to over 70,000 songs — he has the pleasure of working with more than 150 record labels and countless talented artists. He has also negotiated direct deals with the largest companies in the world, including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Trudeau’s ability to adapt and predict trends has led to him being cited by CNN, Washington Post, ABC News, People, US News & World Report, Business Insider, Billboard, Yahoo News, and NPR. As a sought-after thought leader, he has spoken at conferences such as Music Biz, Americana Music Festival, Urban Network, Long Beach Film Festival, GMA’s Immerse, Flavor Fest, Legacy Conference, San Diego Music Thing, and All Eyes On Me.
Head of North American Physical Sales & Marketing for Secretly Distribution
Shelly Westerhausen is the Head of North American Physical Sales & Marketing for Secretly Distribution, an independently owned and operated global music distribution company. The company serves as the exclusive distributor for a premier group of independent record labels including Asthmatic Kitty, Awesome Tapes From Africa, Captured Tracks, Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Numero Group, Sacred Bones Records, Touch and Go Records, and many more. Shelly has been with Secretly for over 10 years and has been an integral part in its physical growth in both the United States and Canada.