Music Biz 2016 to Bring its First-Ever Brand & Strategic Partnership Summit to Nashville

brand partnerships

Major brands Absolut, Bose and Coca-Cola to offer expert guidance on what companies look for in a partnership

April 11, 2016 – The Music Business Association (Music Biz) will host its inaugural Brand & Strategic Partnerships Summit on Tuesday, May 17, from 10:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. during the Music Biz 2016 convention at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel in Nashville. Co-organized by Jon Vanhala of Crossfade Partners, the Summit will walk labels, managers, agents, artists, and other industry marketers through the process of connecting with brands and negotiating deals that are favorable to both sides.

The Summit will be headlined by a Brand Expert Activation session with Afdhel Aziz of Absolut Labs and Joe Belliotti of The Coca-Cola Company, two of the most active and valuable brands in music, experiential, and nightlife. They will discuss their views on the music industry, artist selection, touring, innovation, and new technologies as well as explain how to achieve real world success via brand partnerships.

Other panels and presentations at the Summit will delve into pitching, leveraging data for branding deals, fan insights, social metrics, strategy, brand building, and more. They will be helmed by representatives from some of the biggest companies in the space, including CAA, Bose, Fame House, Fusion Music, G7 Entertainment Marketing, New Heartland Group, Nielsen, Universal Music Group Nashville, and Vector Management.

“With branding deals becoming a more and more consistent source of revenue in the music industry, it is important for everyone in the music business to understand how to legally find, secure, and sustain the best partnerships for them,” said James Donio, President of Music Biz. “We’re thrilled to bring this vital programming to our convention for the first time and excited to welcome Absolut, Coca-Cola, and our fantastic group of presenters.”

Admission to the Brand & Strategic Partnerships Summit is included with a full Music Biz 2016 badge, which Music Biz members can purchase by clicking here. Day passes, which include the Summit, can be purchased via Eventbrite. For updated information on Summit speakers and sessions, click here.

The full currently confirmed agenda is below.

10:45 – 11 AM
Welcome: The Art of the Pitch
Every attendee, whether seasoned professionals or newcomers, needs a quick framework and playbook for how to approach strategic partnerships with brand, agencies, OEMs, and technology partners. This top line view will set the stage for the sessions that round out of Brand & Strategic Partnership Summit and point attendees to online follow-up resources that have proven valuable to those working in this field every day.


  • Jon Vanhala, Crossfade Partners

11 – 11:30 AM
Unlocking the Value of Fans for Labels: Leveraging Data for Big Marketing Bucks
At a time when consumers have unprecedented choice in how and when they engage with content, brand marketers continue to champion entertainment activations as a way to connect with consumers. Data is playing an increasingly bigger role on both sides of brand-artists equation – whether it is identifying the right artist, the right brand, the right event, or even what the activation might look at. In this case study, we look at why music fans are so valuable to brands, and how label marketers are using data to leverage valuable creative partnerships for their artists.


  • Erin Crawford, Nielsen
  • Brad Turcotte, Universal Music Group Nashville

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM
Fan Insights & How They Fuel the Future of Brand Partnerships
As the Summit continues, we build upon the previous label case study and explore the role valuable data plays in giving insights to agents, tour promoters, management companies, and other music biz marketers. Who are your fans? What do they want? How do they want to be engaged? Savvy partnership marketers from all sectors of the music industry will walk you through their process for building upon the foundations of data and insights to define a working strategy for your partnership or campaign.


  • Wayne Leeloy, G7 Entertainment Marketing


  • Eric Scheirer, Bose
  • Jim Stabile, Vector Management
  • Brad Turcotte, Universal Music Group Nashville
  • Megan Sykes, CAA

12:15 – 12:35 PM
The Power of Social Metrics: Maximize Revenue Without Selling Out
In addition to artists appearing in commercials or simply posing with a product, branded content also includes digital endorsements and unique social advertising opportunities. As these outlets become more and more relevant revenue streams for artists, the fear of “selling out” follows. Brands are most attracted to bands and artists who are well established with social metrics, and it’s the artist’s job to make sure these valuable fan followers understand this strategic partnership. This one-on-one conversation will address how artists and their teams can maximize reach and fan engagement, but still remain faithful to the brand. We will also explore where social marketing is headed and what that means for the future of brand partnerships.


  • Jon Vanhala, Crossfade Partners
  • Mike Fiebach, Fame House

12:35 – 1 PM
‘Sell-Side’ Fireside Chat: The Itch to Pitch
Does all this data talk have your head spinning? Well, sit back, relax, and enjoy this entertaining sell-side fireside chat on the trials and tribulations of a strategic brand partnership. Before we break for lunch, we’ll find out what it’s really like to pitch for brand partners every day of your life from an expert in the field.

2 – 2:30 PM
Brand Building: How Cultural Marketing Can Lead to Success
This unique conversation will bring together branding expert Paul Jankowski and Daniel Miller, the manager of multi-Platinum Country group Lady Antebellum. Expanding a brand globally may be on many goal lists, but could targeting an audience that lives in a specific cultural region be as valuable? This chat will define the New Heartland (Midwest, Southwest, Southeast) cultural segment, home to 60% of US consumers, and discuss the role core values play in buying behavior. We’ll also discuss the process of building a measurable brand strategy and when/if brand/artist partnerships make sense.


  • Paul Jankowski, New Heartland Group
  • Daniel Miller, Fusion Music

2:30 – 3:30 PM
Brand Expert Activation: Coca-Cola & Absolut Weigh-In
Closing our Brand & Strategic Partnership Summit, we bring you two of the very best known brands on the planet, and two of the most active and valuable brands in music, experiential, and nightlife. Join us as they step up, collaborate, and share valuable insights, best practices, key factors to close deals, real world activations, and more. We’ll take you inside how they think about the music industry & artist selection, touring, innovation, and new technologies. Most importantly, we will get them talking specifically about what works to achieve real world sustainable success with brand partnerships.


  • Afdhel Aziz, Absolut Labs
  • Joe Belliotti, The Coca-Cola Company

Music Biz 2016, which will return to Nashville from May 16-18, 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. Registration is open now. For more information or to sign up for the conference, visit