As an artist, manager, or consultant, finding the right label can feel like dating. You know you have to ask questions, do your research, talk to dozens of options before you find the one that makes you feel inspired, excited, and wanting to invest in your future. So where does one start? Shoot big, medium, or small? Independent, or major?

Learn the differences between labels, the right questions to ask, and what it all means for your future in music.


Faiz Razi is an Educator, Composer, Designer, and Event Coordinator, among other things. As a composer, he has written and recorded at least an album a year since 1998 and has toured the U.S., Canada, and Spain. He plays a dozen instruments, is a highly sought-after session musician, and has developed several pieces of community-based experimental music technology. He was an international booking agent for three years, and has organized and curated over 600 events, performances, panels, and festivals, most notably the award-winning exhibit, Nomadic Studio. He has produced and hosted a series of short interview documentaries featuring artists and musicians.


Martin Atkins is the definition of entrepreneurial activity in cultural arts endeavors, his 35+ years in the music business spans across genres and borders and industries. He was a member of Public Image Ltd and Killing Joke. He founded industrial supergroup Pigface, The Damage Manual, and Murder Inc., and has contributed to Nine Inch Nails (for which he has a Grammy) and Ministry. He is the owner of Invisible Records and Mattress Factory Recording Studios (est. 1988). He is the author of Welcome To The Music Business….You’re F*cked!, and is the new Music Industries Coordinator at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Martin is a producer, drummer, documentary filmmaker, DJ, and father of four. Whatever the future of entrepreneurial music business education is, you can pretty much bet that he’ll be in the middle of it.

Jason Anthony Valcarcel, Co-Founder of Private Stock Studios, is an artist, record producer and entrepreneur who goes by the professional name “Fayze”, an alias he earned from his time at Lane Technical High School. Born and raised in Chicago, Valcarcel worked as chief executive officer of independent record label Good Life Music Group and LPZ Studios before founding PVTSTK (Private Stock) in 2013. Private Stock has now grown into a creative agency that provides services such as recording, mixing and mastering, project management and more. Through his time spent as an artist manager, Jason has been able to successfully build relationships with artists like Vic Mensa, Rockie Fresh, Saba and many more.

Bridget Hermann, has worked in the music industry since college, starting with an internship at A&M Octone Records. From there she worked in sales and distribution for Warner Music. She officially started her career in radio when she landed back at A&M Octone in 2010 followed by doing radio promotion for Crush Music Management. Since then, she has done radio promotion for artists such as Maroon 5, Sia, Green Day, Weezer, Panic! At the Disco, Fall Out Boy and Max. Last year, she started with Warner Music Nashville and has been working with artists such a Blake Shelton, Brett Eldredge and Cole Swindell to country radio. She has lived in Chicago since 2015.

Jake Hirshland, a founding member of psychedelic rock band Post Animal. Post Animal independently released two EP’s, and released one LP through Polyvinyl Records. The band is currently under contract with Polyvinyl, and plans for further releases through the label.

Jeff Becker is Chair of Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP’s Entertainment and Media Law Practice Group. Among his clients are Grammy-awarding winning musicians, producers and songwriters, publishers and record labels, professional athletes, authors, independent filmmakers and other creative individuals and entertainment-related businesses. For these clients, Jeff provides comprehensive representation in the transactional and litigation aspects of their businesses. In doing so, he counsels clients in the preparation, analysis and negotiation of various issues, including licensing and distribution rights, royalty negotiations and disputes, rights acquisition and clearances, talent agreements, production and performance agreements, music publishing and licensing agreements, recording contracts and master license agreements, sponsorship and endorsement agreements, and artist management agreements. Jeff strives to find the most cost-efficient way to help clients secure and protect their rights. He is an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University College of Law, where he teaches Music Law, and has guest lectured on entertainment-related topics at various colleges, law schools and conferences across the country.