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November 19, 2009

Time: 11:30 am - 1:45 pm

Strategies For Survival: How Successful Indie Labels Are Coping In The Digital Age

The music industry faces unprecedented challenges, yet some labels are not only surviving, but thriving! 

To better understand how record companies and publishing companies can work together in this new environment, please join Bob Emmer, Rob Saslow, Cameron Strang and Kevin Welk in a discussion about finding niches, artist promotion, emerging distribution models and much more at this month’s panel hosted by Bug Music president David Hirshland.

Panelists from left: Cameron Strang, Bob Emmer, David Hirshland (moderator & AIMP VP), Rob Saslow and Kevin Welk.


Photos by Liz Redwing, courtesy of House of Blues on Sunset.


Bob Emmer
COO, Shout! Factory

Rob Saslow
VP A&R Development, Concord Music Group

Cameron Strang
President, New West Records

Kevin Welk
President, Welk Music Group


David Hirshland
President, Bug Music

AIMP Panel

Place: View Map
House of Blues
8430 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Additional Speaker Information

Bob Emmer, a principal of Shout! Factory, a major independent record and video company founded in 2003, brings to the company over 20 years of music/entertainment industry experience. Earlier, at Rhino Entertainment, he was EVP of the company, with responsibilities covering its record, video and film divisions. Following the acquisition of Rhino by the Warner Music Group, from 1996 through 2000, Emmer was Senior Vice President, Business Affairs, at the Warner Music Group. Emmer was SVP at Alive Enterprises, a multi-faceted entertainment management and production company, where he was involved in the careers of Alice Cooper, Blondie, Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass, among others. He was also Executive Producer/Creator of the NBC music show, “Rock ‘n Roll Tonite." Emmer is a graduate of Loyola Law School, and has taught several college courses on the music industry. Emmer serves on the Board of Directors of UCLA’s Entertainment Extension School, on the Board of the City of Hope, Music and Entertainment Industry Group’s Executive Committee, and on the board of the Society of Singers in Los Angeles.

Rob Saslow, Concord Music Group, UCLA Alumnus. With the exception of a 2 year stint at Atlantic Records, Rob Saslow has worked exclusively for independent record labels during his 17 years in the music industry. Currently serving as Vice President of A&R Development for Concord Music Group, he works with a diverse lineup of artists that includes Tift Merritt, Marcus Miller, James Hunter, Alejandro Escovedo, Raul Malo, Loudon Wainwright III, Chick Corea, Robben Ford, Junior Brown, Otis Taylor, Tab Benoit, Corey Harris, Stanton Moore, and The Gabe Dixon Band. Rob is not just an A&R guy - he previously managed the marketing staff for Telarc / Heads Up Records and headed up Special Markets sales efforts for Atlantic Records and Mesa / Bluemoon.

Cameron Strang is the president and founder of New West Records, which won the NARM Award for Independent Label of the Year in both 2007 and 2008. The label is home to such artists as Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, John Hiatt, Delbert McClinton, Ben Lee, Drive By Truckers, and Old 97's. Strang is also the president and founder of New West Independent Music Publishing, LLC and its Pop/Urban publishing affiliate Southside Independent Music Publishing, LLC who has been on a creative hot streak of its own, publishing BMI Song of the Year winners “S.O.S.” (Rihanna 2006), “Beautiful Girls” (Sean Kingston 2007), “Take You There” (Sean Kingston 2008) and current worldwide hits “Better In Time” (Leona Lewis) and “Right Round” (Flo Rida). In 2008, Southside writer/producer J.R. Rotem was recognized with the BMI Urban Songwriter of the Year Award.

Kevin Welk joined Welk Music Group in 1994 as Sales and Marketing Manager. In 1996, he became the Director of Artist Development, General Manager in 1998 and was named President in 1999. The company operates Vanguard Records, Sugar Hill Records and Ranwood Records. Under Kevin’s tenure with the company, both Sugar Hill and Vanguard records have achieved many accolades and considered the premier roots music labels. Kevin also created a new model in the record business by developing it’s own distribution system. By doing this it enabled both labels to create their own destiny and develop artists. In 2003 NARM awarded Welk Music Group with Entertainment Supplier of the Year. Mr. Welk graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in finance and communication arts. He was a member of the Crimson Circle, an honors society at Loyola Marymount, and a member of the LMU baseball team.

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