A2IM’s Richard James Burgess to Keynote ‘Indie Music Forum powered by Hypebot’ at Music Biz 2017 in Nashville

The Music Business Association (Music Biz) and co-organizer Hypebot have announced the full agenda for this year’s “Indie Music Forum powered by Hypebot,” which will be held on Thursday, May 18, as part of the Music Biz 2017 convention at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel in Nashville.

The Forum will be led by a Keynote Conversation with Richard James Burgess, Ph.D., CEO of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), a trade organization representing a diverse group of over 400 Independently owned American record labels. Burgess will share how his experiences as an artist, musician, producer, composer, manager, educator, inventor, and label executive inform his advocacy for independent labels and artists to interviewer Bruce Houghton, President of Skyline Music as well as Publisher and Editor of Hypebot. Other panels will provide independent artists with tips on how to stand out from the pack and explain the ins and outs of record contracts in 2017.

The full agenda for the Indie Music Forum can be found below. For more information or to register for Music Biz 2017, visit A special rate of $249 is available for first-time artists, songwriters, managers, and independent labels.

3:45 – 4:15 PM

Indie Music Forum Keynote: Richard James Burgess, Ph.D., A2IM

From studio drummer, music-computer programmer, recording artist, record producer, composer, author, manager, inventor, educator, and label executive, Richard Burgess’s 40-year music industry career has truly spanned the spectrum of the industry, giving him the insight to now sit at the helm of A2IM to advance the voice of the independent label community. During this keynote, Bruce Houghton — Founder and President of Skyline Artist Agency, a national and international booking agency, and Publisher and Editor of Hypebot and Music Think Tank — will talk with Burgess about his deep roots in the industry and how those experiences help shape the decisions he makes day-to-day to be an advocate, educator and connector for A2IM’s over 400 label members.

  • Richard James Burgess, Ph.D., CEO, A2IM
  • Interviewer: Bruce Houghton, President, Skyline Music/Publisher & Editor, Hypebot

4:20 – 5:10 PM

Authentic Artist Branding Bootcamp

Most musicians are terrible at telling their story and describing their sound. Why? We’re inside the music AND the mind that made it, so it’s easy to lose perspective. But a band that has a solid grasp on their branding has a huge advantage over acts that don’t. In this seminar, Chris Robley and Kevin Breuner lead you through a handful of exercises that will help you identify what makes you unique, and how to communicate it clearly to the world.

  • Kevin Breuner, VP of Marketing, CD Baby
  • Chris Robley, Editor, CD Baby’s DIY Musician Blog

5:15 – 6:00 PM

What’s Your Deal? Understanding Recording Agreements in 2017

Entertainment lawyers are constantly amazed at the number of industry types that, at a fundamental level, have little to no understanding of how the music business actually works. Admittedly, a robust understanding of publishing agreements or copyright law aren’t necessarily requirements for, say, an effective marketing campaign. But, no matter our role in the industry, are we as lawyers doing our clients a disservice by not advising them against the backdrop of even a rudimentary understanding of how they earn their livelihood?

Naturally, the successful creator may wear a number of hats, each of which may involve a wide array of complex legal or business concepts. In the rapidly-evolving landscape of today’s industry, the centerpiece of the (profitable) artist’s career is the still-all-important record deal. With that in mind, this panel will provide attendees with a 10,000-foot perspective on the most important contract they — or their clients — may ever sign.

  • Moderator: Jamie Starling, Director of Business & Legal Affairs, Entertainment One
  • Molly Shehan, Associate, Milom Horsnell Crow Rose Kelley, PLC
  • Chris Taylor, President, Entertainment One Music

Music Biz 2017, which will return to Nashville from May 15-18, is the music industry’s premier event, giving the commerce and content sectors a place to meet with trading partners, network with new companies, and learn about new trends and products impacting the music business. This year’s event will cover topics including Touring, Live Streaming, Vinyl, Messaging, International, D2F, Crowdfunding, Tweens & Tech, e-Commerce, Playlisting, A&R, Social Media, Licensing, Publishing, Hi-Res, VR, Management, and Professional Development and feature keynotes from Troy Carter, Global Head of Creator Services at Spotify; Jeff Krones and Hunter Williams, both Music Agents at Creative Artists Agency (CAA); and more to be announced. Returning favorite sessions will include the Metadata Summit, Brand & Strategic Partnership Summit, and Entertainment & Technology Law Conference, as well as an encore for Music’s Leading Ladies Speak Out and various special interest programs and breakout sessions.

In addition, the convention will include a variety of Live Music Showcases, including the second annual Industry Jam, in which music business execs join big-name musicians onstage for an evening of live music. Music Biz will also present Breakthrough Artist Awards to Maren Morris and Lukas Graham; the Presidential Award for Outstanding Executive Achievement to Mike Dungan, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville, and the Independent Spirit Award to Terry Currier, Owner of the iconic Portland, OR-based record store Music Millennium. Additional award recipients will be announced in the coming weeks. Discounted early bird registration is now open at, and for a full list of currently confirmed programming, visit

About the Music Business Association

The Music Business Association (Music Biz) is a membership organization that advances and promotes music commerce — a community committed to the full spectrum of monetization models in the industry. It provides common ground by offering thought leadership, resources and unparalleled networking opportunities, all geared to the specific needs of its membership. Music Biz brings a unique perspective and valuable insight into the trends and changes that innovation brings. Today, we put our collective experience to work across all delivery models: physical, digital, mobile, and more. Music Biz and its members are committed to building the future of music commerce — together.

Music Biz Media Contact

Laurie Jakobsen, Jaybird Communications —, 646.484.6764