A2IM 2021 Board of Directors Elections: Meet the Candidates

about a2im's board of directors

A2IM Board members offer their expertise to represent the membership at large, and assist in setting the priorities and direction for the organization.

 

A2IM Board of Directors’ terms run for three years. Each board seat is term limited to one, full three-year term. Any board member, and member company, serving a full three-year term must sit out one year at the conclusion of their term before being eligible to run for election again.

 

Amongst other responsibilities, Board Members will primarily …

  • become involved in committees (e.g. Sustainability, Education) and projects supporting the efforts and growth of A2IM. 
  • be kept informed by A2IM staff of important developments as they arise then provide guidance on how to better serve the Independent music community.
  • meet in person or by teleconference six – ten times per year to review the agenda and progress of the organization. 

To run in this year’s election, we asked candidates to provide a biography, and answers to the following questions:

  • What do you consider your greatest area of expertise, and how can it contribute to the knowledge base of our board?
  • What are three key issues you have identified in the independent sector today that you plan to address if elected to the Board of Directors? 
  • Please expand on the priority issue(s) you would like to address if you’re elected to serve on the board.

MEET this year's CANDIDATES

Expertise: Business Operations, Business Affairs, Entrepreneurship

 

3 Key Issues:

(1) I plan to work to create more opportunities for BIPOC creatives. (2) I plan to continue to educate independent artists and help to dispel many myths that stand in their way to success. (3) I plan to work to bring counter the misinformation that  is causing both DSPs and artists to feel that record labels are no longer necessary. 

 

Biography:

Tony D. Alexander is Co-Founder, President, and Managing Director of Made in Memphis Entertainment (MIME) LLC. In this role, he oversees all operations at MIME’s vast family of companies, including recording studio 4U Recording, music distributor Beatroot Music, sync catalog Heavy Hitters Music , independent music publishing company MIME Publishing, and independent record label MIME Records. These entities all work together toward Alexander’s vision to develop and promote diverse talent on both the creative and business sides of the music business while re-establishing Memphis as a key music industry hub with global reach.

Alexander is also a veteran business executive with over 20 years of experience developing and implementing corporate strategies and leading a disparate group of companies. Wherever he has worked, Alexander has been committed to ensuring improved finances, heightened productivity, and enhanced strategic outcomes. He is a serial entrepreneur who founded, co-founded, or was an early employee at six different businesses in various industries that were successfully acquired (NuAge Technologies Inc., The Gwenet Group LLC, Alveolus Inc., WeCom Systems Inc., OptimumPath LLC, H-Power Inc.).

As a registered patent attorney, Alexander understands innovation and regulation. He has focused his legal practice on client counseling in all aspects of procuring, licensing, and enforcing patents, trademarks, and copyrights, with significant experience in trade dress and trade secret matters. His background broadly encompasses intellectual property, technology transfer, venture capital, and regulatory compliance, with an emphasis on emerging companies.

Alexander is also an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, where he teaches Food & Drug Law, Patent Law, Entertainment Law, and Trademark Law. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and the Music Business Association. His work has been featured in publications such as The National Law Journal, Nature Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical Compliance Monitor, Billboard Magazine, Music Week, South Carolina Business, Memphis Business Journal, and In Business Magazine.

Alexander is a magna cum laude graduate of Morehouse College. He also holds both a Master of Science and a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A committed community activist who serves as Senior Pastor of a growing Memphis congregation, Tony has been married to his best friend, Dr. Gwendolyn Alexander, for 26 years. They have three children — 14-year-old Natalie, 12-year-old Philip, and 9-year-old Memphis Paige — and reside in Memphis, TN.

Expertise: While I believe that I can contribute to the board in many ways, I feel that my relationships within the industry and years of service to the various trade associations will enable me to help A2IM further the interests of its members.

 

3 Key Issues:

(1) Ensuring that the independent community has a voice that is at least equal to the major record companies. (2) Working together with other industry groups to protect the value of copyrights and to ensure fair treatment and compensation throughout the music ecosystem. (3) Helping independent music companies navigate a rapidly changing and often consolidating industry.

 

Biography:

I have spent most of my 30+ year professional career within the independent music community, serving as the CEO of Concord Music Group for most of this time.    At the beginning of 2020, I left Concord in order to launch Exceleration Music, a new global music venture focused on investing in independent labels and providing personalized financial and operating solutions to entrepreneurs and artists.   In the short period of time since its launch, Exceleration has assembled a partnership of world-class independent music executives, made investments in the landmark Chicago blues label Alligator Records and the venerable jazz label Candid Records, and formed a strategic partnership with the Ray Charles Foundation.    In addition to my work with Concord and Exceleration, I have concurrently provided many years of service to the music industry’s trade associations, having spent a number of terms serving as a board member of A2IM, and currently serving on the boards of the RIAA and the IFPI.  Via these organizations, I have worked to protect and promote independent music and intellectual property rights by representing the industry in meetings or hearings at the White House, the U.S. Senate, The Library of Congress, the California Senate and other governmental forums.   I have also endeavored to establish harmony and alignment between the various factions of the music community whenever possible, as I firmly believe that that industry is best served when its inhabitants work together for the common good.

Expertise: Marketing and TV/Film (music placement)

 

3 Key Issues:
(1)Streaming royalties,  the rate has to increase.This current model is unsustainable. (2)Black owned labels-more access and respect. (3)Radio promotions, how the indies can get a shot, and is it worth the effort-(are radio stations dying?)

 

Biography:

I currently run a label/production company and a non profit. I started in the industry as an intern at Sony Music Distribution. From there I went into promotions, both for labels and concert promotions.  I then focused on A&R (7 years @ indie label), and now  I run my own label with distribution via the Orchard. I was always fascinated with the music/tv/film connection.

I started producing documentaries which led me to becoming and EP for a tv show on a popular cable network.  My non profit provides meals and resources for  veterans, homeless and essential workers, especially during the pandemic. www.agiftfromglenn.org

Expertise: I consider artist development to be my greatest area of expertise.  With a background in both Project Management and Digital Strategy, I have a holistic understanding of what makes a successful + organic campaign and how to extend momentum to develop an artist’s career.  Sustainable growth is at the forefront of our business and as we continue to expand and shift focus internationally, we’re able to prioritize artist development on a worldwide basis and lay the foundation.  Collaborating directly with artists and their teams, I have a strong understanding of what artists need and value, and as a member of the Board of Directors, those are the issues and topics I would advocate for.  

 

3 Key Issues:

(1) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within the Music Business. (2) Data Literacy: empowering and educating independent artists on how to read, understand and utilize their data. (3) Funding and resources for artists as COVID restrictions ease up and touring resumes

 

Biography:

In August of 2020, Mariah Czap was promoted to Co-General Manager and Head of Digital at Yep Roc Records, becoming the label’s first female General Manager in its almost 25-year history.  She first joined the Yep Roc team as an intern in 2012 and officially started on staff as a Project Manager 8 years ago. For the last 4 years, Mariah acted as Digital Marketing Manager, developing strategies that impact streaming and digital sales on a worldwide basis for the Yep Roc Music Group.  Mariah has directed worldwide marketing campaigns for Mandolin Orange, Robyn Hitchcock, Born Ruffians, Tift Merritt and Blitzen Trapper, among others. 

 

In addition to her work at Yep Roc, Mariah has co-produced the Midnight Jam at MerleFest since 2014 with The Bluegrass Situation.  She’s also directed on-site festival content for Red Wing Roots Festival and IBMA.  

 

In her current role as Co-General Manager, Mariah is dedicated to creating an environment with the rest of the Yep Roc team that encourages diversity, inclusiveness, empathy, and most of all a focus on creativity and support for the artists and the music the label has the privilege of introducing to the world.  She serves as an active member of Redeye’s Diversity and Intersectionality Committee, whose mission is to establish a diverse workforce that supports all traditionally disenfranchised groups and provide educational + training resources to current employees.

 

She also joined the Fall 2020 cycle of the A2IM Mentor Program, which promotes the mission of music industry education and connection-building between independent music executives across all career stages.  Mariah values being able to give her time as a mentor to help the next generation of industry leaders build both their personal and professional development.  

 

Mariah currently serves on the Redeye Board of Directors and was named one of A2IM’s Featured Executives in 2020. 

Expertise: My greatest area of expertise is in identifying movements early. I have been a fierce early adopter of both new sounds and new technology, embracing new DSPs, social media platforms and all of the seemingly endless and evolving ways that consumers find and digest music each year. No matter the subject, I will always be open to exploring new ideas early and finding the correct pathway to implement them without putting core business and relationships at risk.

 

3 Key Issues:

(1) How can indies stay relevant and essential in a masters landscape that is quickly shifting to major labels scooping anything remotely hot and artists doing it themselves through major distributors? We need to to have a plan in place to bolster our collective structures and support / embolden shared 3rd party platforms for self-distribution, royalties and data collection. 

(2) How can indies have a broader footprint internationally? I’d like to work on connecting independent labels with independent promo & marketing teams that can help labels based in a single territory achieve the kind of global footprint that their upper tier artists deserve without giving up rights or control.

(3) How can indies address social issues in a meaningful, effective way? This should be a no brainer for all of us in this sector, but well intented efforts are often dwindled with a lack of resources – I’d like to help build on what A2IM has started this year.

 

Biography:

I am Jasper Goggins, President of Mad Decent. I’ve been running the label and all facets of its business since 2008, taking the company from a one man operation to its current status as one of the leading independent record labels in the United States. We have been totally independent since 2011, and through the years we have followed an ethos of finding forward thinking musicians (often predating music trends by years), showcasing underexposed music genres, and taking chances on non-traditional ideas – both in business and musical output.

 

Prior to joining Mad Decent, I founded the music store Turntable Lab in 1998. Our business grew from a literal college dorm room to become one of the most influential music stores in the world. And as we grew, so too did the profile of the artists and customers that helped make up our core base. One of those artist-suppliers was Diplo, and when he wanted to make the leap from making mixtapes to making his own record label in 2007, I joined him.

Expertise: I am part of a unique sector of the music industry. I sit at the intersection of music, gaming/streaming and tech development. My label was founded with the goal of “solving the music problem” for user generated content (ugc) creators. When I left the streaming and tech industries to take over as the CEO of Ninety9Lives, I dug in to discover how nuanced the “music problem” is. 

 

My goal has shifted us from not just releasing music for content creators to use, but also educating creators on licensing, the DMCA, and why musicians should be respected as content creators too. On the other side, my goal is to share my knowledge of how to use platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok to grow new audiences and seed trends with the music industry.

 

3 Key Issues:

(1) The DMCA no longer provides the balance between protecting copyright without stifling the innovation of online service providers that congress initially intended. (2) User generated content (ugc) platforms are growing at a pace that far exceeds our ability to address licensing issues and education of the users of those platforms. (3) New technologies in music happen quickly and are typically developed by parties outside of the music industry (ie: NFTs) leaving rights holders with very few resources for education.

 

Biography:

I have always been passionate about music. I picked up my first viola when she was 8 and fell in love. I switched to the violin at 13 and worked hard to get accepted into the Phoenix Symphony Guild (which I continued to play with until 18). In high school, I pursued singing and joined my high school’s show and madrigal choirs. And I continued to participate in my university’s choirs and orchestra while studying electrical engineering at the University of Arizona.

 

During a software engineering career experience at Apple in my last year of college, I was introduced to the fun and burgeoning world of gaming and live streaming. In 2017 I dove headfirst into the YouTube and live streaming community by joining the team at Ninety9Lives, a record label focused on providing music for content creators. Soon after, I was given the opportunity to work with the team at Mixer (Microsoft’s answer to Amazon’s Twitch.tv), where I helped guide and develop the partnership onboarding and review process.

 

Missing the music side of content creation, in late 2019 I returned to Ninety9Lives, this time taking over the role of CEO. I have devoted my time at Ninety9Lives to cleaning up and organizing the catalogue’s metadata, signing Ninety9Lives with the Merlin Network, joining A2IM, upgrading the label’s internal tech, and finding new ways to revitalize the label’s presence in the gaming and streaming industry. In 2020, I joined the advisory board of A2IM where I have focused on advocating for independent labels’ and artists’ rights within the music industry’s ecosystem. 

Expertise: Mary is a people person.  She is also a hard-working, cheerful and ambitious music executive. Across her decades-long career in the music industry, from her time at major record labels, as a personal manager, and as a part of the genesis and growth of three independent record labels, Mary has amassed a wealth of knowledge and connections and built and unprecedented network.  If you need a connection or introduction, Mary can likely make it. If you need to call in a favor, Mary can likely help you to effectuate it.  If you need to deliver delicate news or instruction, Mary finds a way to do so in a professional manner.  Mary’s demeanor, wealth of experience, and strategic foresight make her the key team member on any project she works on, and enable her to execute difficult projects and persuade particular personalities.  Mary would be a crucial advocate and asset to the independent music community and will be a pleasure to work with as a board member.  Furthermore, Mary brings a unique perspective having built and worked with myriad independent entities, which will be invaluable to the A2IM board. 

 

3 Key Issues:

(1) Continue to broaden and strengthen diversity within the independent label community.  (2) Develop policy and create goals to encourage healthy competition and decrease consolidation within the music industry. (3) Focus on an ecosystem that supports creators and their art as opposed to viewing music as a commodity. 

 

Biography:

Mary Jurey is a recovering Deadhead who came to Blue Élan Records from Triple 8 Management, where she was the Director of Finance. Previously, she had long stints at New West Records and Playing In Traffic Records as Director of A&R Coordination/Production and General Manager, respectively. At Loophole Management she managed Grammy winning artist Los Lonely Boys, and she honed her A&R chops under the legendary John D. Kalodner at Columbia Records, after beginning her career assisting 5-time Grammy winner Mary Chapin Carpenter. Mary also served as Project Coordinator for the multi-platinum series Live From Austin, TX.  As Chief Business Officer of Blue Élan, Mary is heavily involved in all aspects of the artists’ day-to-day campaigns and personally project manages several artists. Mary also leads the project managers and advised more junior employees in all aspects of their day-to-day functions.  Her 20-years of industry experience means she has seen the industry shift, several times, and is uniquely situated to guide Blue Élan and enhance its ability to serve each artist, across multiple genres, from baby bands to legacy superstars.  Mary currently sits on the A2IM Advisory Board. 

Expertise: Speaking an independent voice regarding focus and finances

 

3 Key Issues: (1) Fair pay for fair pay at radio, (2) support of shuttered or struggling indie venues, (3) protection of artists and songwriters in a livestream environment  

 

Biography:

Ed Leonard, president of Daywind Music Group and vice president of New Day Christian Distributors, serves these fiercely independent, family-owned businesses in leadership and general counsel roles. With labels and publishing companies operating in Bluegrass (Billy Blue Records – Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Appalachian Road Show, Marty Raybon, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Carolina Blue, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers and more), Gospel (Daywind Records – Crabb Family, Greater Vision, Karen Peck and New River, Brian Free and Assurance, Blackwood Brothers, and more) and Americana (Billy Jam), the company continues to build on its 35-year history in the music business. Leonard is also a licensed attorney working mainly in entertainment, intellectual property, and corporate formation.

 

A passionate advocate for the rights of creators, Leonard serves as chairman and president of the Christian Music Trade Association, co-chairman/advocacy of the Gospel Music Association, vice president of the Southern Gospel Music Guild, and member of the Dispute Resolution committee of the MLC, CCLI Advisory Group, and the board of the CMPA Action Fund. Past music community involvement includes roles with the Church Music Publishers Association (president), GMA Dove Awards (executive producer), Christian Booksellers Association (vice chairman), and Gospel Music Foundation (board member). He is a member of the Recording Academy, Southern Gospel Music Association, International Bluegrass Music Association, Americana Music Association, and a graduate of Leadership Music (2001) and Leadership Bluegrass (2020).

 

A strong proponent of continuing education, Leonard earned his juris doctor degree with a certificate in entertainment law as part of the charter class of the Belmont University College of Law in 2014, where he co-founded the Entertainment Law Society. His law degree complements a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame (finance) and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (finance/international business).  

 

Expertise: In my decade-plus at Mom+Pop, I’ve been part of navigating a changing music environment, and have experience with a several areas which I hope to contribute as a board member. I’ve taken our label out of a major-owned distributor to being a fully-independently distributed company, from supply chain partners to our Merlin and other direct relationships. Our exit from distribution also required a new Radio Promo solution; we formed a partnership which services our company with Pop, Hot AC, Alt and Triple A commercial radio promotion. I would look forward to serving on the DSP and Radio subcommittees, and would share my experience in these matters as a Board member. 

 

3 Key Issues:

(1) Expanding the diversity of the A2IM membership to encompass more genres of artists and companies. (2) Ensuring a level playing field, for independent labels with respect to greater access, more transparency and better information in working with DSPs and Commercial Radio. (3) Increasing diversity for a new generation of executive talent in the independent label sector, to rapidly increase our diversity as a community, through participating in college music programs, internships and one to one mentoring, and creating opportunities for non-college future executives.

 

Biography:

I co-own and co-run Mom+Pop Music, along with label founder Michael Goldstone. We are 100% independently owned, based in New York and Los Angeles. We are Merlin members, and self-distribute and run our own marketing and promo via our international marketing teams. Mom+Pop was founded in 2008, and over the years we’ve released music from a diverse set of artists, including Courtney Barnett, Ashe, Beach Bunny, Flume, Orion Sun, Alina Baraz, Porter Robinson, Lucius, Sleater-Kinney, Tash Sultana and many others. 

 

Prior to Mom+Pop, I worked for 15 years in independent music companies, as a manager, promotion rep and small label owner. 

 

Joining Goldie at Mom+Pop in 2009, we were able to construct an artist-first music company, which from day one treated our artists as our partners. As the music industry his evolved over the last decade, we have been able to continue to grow, and evolve ourselves, while being in position to devote significant time, passion and resources to a focused roster of artists. 

 

We believe in self sufficiency, with respect to our ownership, our distribution and marketing activities. In 2020 we co-founded of Further, a promotion marketing company, bringing best in class commercial radio promotion to Mom+Pop, as well as other independent artists. 

 

In what has been an extremely difficult year for all of us, we have come to believe the best days and the most opportunities for the independent label community lie ahead if we harness the power and diversity of our artists and community.

 

I was fortunate to have served a first term on the A2IM board, from 2017 through 2020, and valued my time and hope my contributions were helpful or at least were thoughtful and contributed to the diversity of ideas. In applying to serve a second term, there are a host of different concerns which I’ll highlight below. I would hope to be able to be an effective and positive addition to the new Board.

 

 Outside of music, together with my wife, Jenn, I’m parent to Clover, 6 and Lachlan 14. I’m an avid runner, an active at-home chef, and lifelong music fan. Can’t wait to go shows this summer!

Expertise: Physical product! I’ve got a well-rounded view of the physical market, primarily vinyl and archival reissues, specifically. Also, as a collector, I have a unique perspective on the secondary market for physical product and how that drives demand in the new release space. I also have insight into the struggles that independent labels face in getting records made and released in 2021 as the overall supply chain becomes increasingly clogged. 

 

 

3 Key Issues:

(1) Environmental sustainability of vinyl manufacturing, (2) the path toward digital catalog autonomy,  and (3) a stronger voice for catalog / archival reissue labels overall.

 

Biography:

Lifelong record collector and musician, Ryan started out playing in bands and releasing music while working at Rhino Entertainment. After a 10-year stint at Rhino, having done everything from publishing clearance and legal affairs to producing releases, marketing, and brand licensing for Frank Sinatra and Grateful Dead, Ryan moved on to Concord, where he was Director of Catalog Management. There he produced GRAMMY-nominated releases, founded the Jazz Dispensary imprint and looked after the catalog as a project manager for Craft Recordings’ archival reissues. In 2018, he joined Light in the Attic Records and Distribution as Head of Business Development and was soon after placed in the GM role for the organization. He is also a contributing member of the mixtape group Mondo Boys, co-conspirator at Aquarium Drunkard, occasional NTS Radio DJ, and co-creator of Mr. GOODBOY Record Carts.

Expertise: Having worked in all aspects of the music business, I consider myself an expert on flexibility and running a growing independent business.  My areas of expertise are music distribution and monetization, data analytics and marketing. I have enjoyed working on successful campaigns for The Pretty Reckless, All That Remains, Starset and worked day to day to grow KIDZ BOP into a global children’s brand.  

 

3 Key Issues:

(1) Performing Rights- I currently represent independents on the Sound Exchange board. These rights continue to be critical to the value of all copyrights and especially to independent labels.  This is especially relevant in a world of global neighboring rights. (2) Increasing independent market share and voice- In aggregate independents are a considerable and growing share of music. We are leaders in innovation and culture and our voice should strong and clear. We are diverse and comprise every type of business with every conceivable business model. We support our artists and care about their success and message. (3) Legislative issues, public policy and the value of copyrights- I’m particularly interested in attempts to undermine copyright in the domestic and foreign legislative areas.  I’ll do my best to ensure we are treated fairly.

 

Biography:

Victor Zaraya is the Chief Operating Officer of Concord. Prior to this role Vic was President of Razor & Tie and KIDZ BOP.  

 

CONCORD RECORDED MUSIC is comprised of six active labels across many musical genres: Fantasy Records, Fearless Records, Loma Vista Recordings, Rounder Records, Easy Eye Sound and Concord Jazz.

 

The company’s historical labels are managed by its Craft Recordings team, and include such storied imprints as Fania, Independiente, Milestone, Musart, Nitro, Pablo, Prestige, Riverside, Savoy, Specialty, Stax, Telarc, Varèse Sarabande, Vee-Jay and Wind-up. Concord’s master recording portfolio contains more than 260,000 active song recordings and includes no less than 295 GRAMMY® winners (representing over 6.6% of all the GRAMMYs® ever awarded) and over 400 gold, platinum, multi-platinum and diamond RIAA certifications across 215 titles.

 

Concord is also home to the #1 kids’ music brand, KIDZ BOP. Now in its 20th year, the global hit music franchise has sold 22.5 million albums, generated 6.5 billion streams and continues to reach kids and families with new music, videos, consumer products and live tours. 

 

A Longstanding active advocate for the independent community he has previously served on the A2IM board and executive committee. He currently serves as an Independent representative on the Sound Exchange board.