Yoel Kenan

CEO – Africori South Africa


Yoel Kenan is the founder and CEO of AFRICORI, a music company specialising in label services, digital distribution, synch licensing and publishing to artists, writers, publishers, labels and other music rights holders in Africa. Yoel has over 25 years experience in the international music industry at senior executive level in the fields of A&R (Artist & Repertoire), marketing and business development at Universal, Sony-BMG and

Yoel started his career in France organizing concerts and launching an independent record label before joining Universal Music. He then moved to London to work at Universal Music International where he served in various positions in areas of marketing, A&R and new technology. In 2001 he was appointed as the CEO of Europe, the continents leading digital music portal. Yoel later joined SonyBMG as its Senior Vice President of International Marketing and Business Development where he was responsible for the international marketing strategies for artists such as Dido, Avril Lavine & Christina Aguilera as well as developing new revenue streams for the company. In 2005, Yoel moved to Africa to develop new digital business opportunities for the music industry across the continent.

Africori is based in Johannesburg and has offices in Lagos and London and representation in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Ghana. Africori is also home to "Coolspot Music", one of South Africa¹s leading independent record labels.

North America

Tom Silverman is recognized throughout the music industry for two significant contributions: founding independent label TommY BoY Records and launching the New Music Seminar. TommY BoY is the oldest operating label helped pioneer hip hop with such artists as De La Soul, Digital Underground, Queen Latifah and House of Pain; electronic music with artists like Information Society, LFO and 808 State; and today is releasing new albums for artists such as Method Man and Ghostface Killah; along with developing several new acts.

He co-founded Dance Music Report magazine, the most important DJ publication at the beginning of the DJ era, co-founded the Dance Music Hall of Fame. Mr. Silverman had served on the boards of SoundExchange, RIAA,NAIRD/AFIM, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Dance Music Hall of Fame, and NARM Manufacturer's Advisory and was a founding board member of both A2IM and Merlin. In 2000 he received the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Heroes Award. In 2010 he was presented with the NARM Independent Spirit Award. In 2013, he was awarded with the A2IM Libera Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the inependent music business.

Tom has spoken at: SXSW, Canadian Music Week, Trigger Creative Conference, Digital Music Forum, In the City, YouBloom, CMJ, NARM, Keynoted Winter Music Conference, Kenoted Amsterdam Dance Event, MIDEM, Music & Media (FI), ASCAP New York Sessions, Leadership Music, MUCON in Seoul, Korea, and many others.


Paul is President of Kobalt Music Recordings which is part of the Kobalt Music Group, one of the world's leading independent music companies.

Paul started Kobalt Music Recordings in 2012 and has built the business within Kobalt to become one of the leading artist and label services companies worldwide with a team of more than 60 people across offices in Europe, the US and Australia.

Kobalt Music Recordings includes AWAL, founded in 2004, and a leading digital sales and distribution provider that directly distributes and promotes the music of more than 20,000 independent artists and labels both big and small.

Paul previously co-founded a series of companies in digital music – Playlouder, an early innovator in digital music; MSP, a white label music streaming and download platform; and CI, the market leader in digital supply chain services for the indie sector.

Prior to working in the digital music market, Paul founded the London-based indie label Sugar Records in 1994, before a stint in A&R at Warner Music at the end of the 90s.

Paul has also provided strategy consultancy to a number of media and technology companies, is a Cambridge Economics graduate and a Fellow and former Council member of the Royal Society of Arts.Paul is President, International of Kobalt Label Services (KLS), a service provider to recording artists and record labels, and part of the Kobalt Music Group, one of the world's leading independent music companies.

Kobalt Label Services is currently working with artists as diverse as Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Pet Shop Boys, David Gray, Lenny Kravitz, Julian Casablancas, Karen O, Die Antwoord, Courtney Barnett, Little Simz and Todd Terje.

KLS incorporates AWAL, founded in 2004, and a leading digital sales and distribution provider that directly distributes and promotes the music of more than 20,000 independent artists and labels both big and small.

Paul previously co-founded a series of companies in digital music – Playlouder, an early innovator in digital downloads, digital marketing and live streaming; MSP, a white label music streaming and download platform that powers music services for Telcos; and CI, the European market leader in digital supply chain services for the music industry.

Prior to working in the digital market, Paul founded the London-based indie label Sugar Records in 1994, before a stint in A&R at Warner Music at the end of the 90s.

Paul has also provided strategy consultancy to a number of media and technology companies, is a Cambridge Economics graduate and a Fellow and former Council member of the Royal Society of Arts.


I was born in La Ría de Vigo, Galicia, on the Spanish Atlantic coast. My family was very passionate about music, we were always listening to the radio and dancing, we had a wooden record player and a lot of vinyl ranging from classical to popular artists of the time.

I studied music theory, classical guitar as well as jazz, at the Vigo Conservatory of Music, however I wasn’t a great musician. I felt much more attracted to bashing a guitar in a punk band and living the rock & roll lifestyle, today I still have my Telecaster Deluxe from 1967. One of my high school teachers went to live in Brazil and began sending me vinyl records. I quickly became fascinated with the style of music and, I’m not sure how, I started selling Brazilian records to my friends. A short time after, I contacted an established independent German distributor and we started to distribute alternative artists and amazing record labels throughout Spain.

I moved to Madrid in 1992 at the age of 24 and created the company BOA. We started distributing the most rebellious and controversial artists, outside of the standard commercial music market, working with counterculture and daring projects in all styles of music. In 1994 we began working with Spanish hip-hop; organizing festivals, releasing records by big artists, and step by step, after a few years BOA became the most important Spanish speaking hip-hop label of its time.

We started to work with our first digital business model from the outset. With all of our experience and knowledge of the sector, and the reinforcement of a great professional team, we created the company ALTAFONTE in 2011. From the beginning, the development of our own technology has always been one of our objectives. I have learned what programming is and how it works, fundamental coding architecture, and I have discovered a new technological world; one of the biggest surprises being that it is tremendously creative.

I think that being dyslexic has helped me have a unique vision and to understand that creative expression never ends and it evolves with change; we have to adapt and advance with the times because nothing is ever permanent: for me this is very inspiring.

I identify myself with Altafonte’s 4 fundamental values: Live and feel artistic CREATIVITY; comprehend TECHNOLOGY and innovate; be outstanding and responsible with BUSINESS and act with TRANSPERENCY and proper ethics at all times.

When I travel around the world I like to visit record stores, attend live concerts and discover new music. I also like meeting interesting people, drinking nice wine and eating vegan meals.

I won’t stop learning, or surprising myself and I will always maintain my INDEPENDENT spirit. 


Michel Lambot’s career is inseparable from [PIAS] (Play it Again Sam) as the co- founder. Created in 1983 in a Brussels cellar by Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot, with a derisory amount of capital, [PIAS] has become a leader of the European independent record industry.

[PIAS] started out through the distribution of independent labels, then extended its activities to production through the creation of its own label in 1984. In 1990, [PIAS] set up offices in Hilversum, Holland, then followed by the UK (now the top distributor of alternative music).

[PIAS] offices were set up in London in 1989, Amsterdam in 1991, Paris in 1994, Hamburg in 1995, in Madrid in 2000 and lately in New York.

[PIAS] is now the biggest independent distribution company and a real A&R force in Europe with the addition of Coop, integrated in 2012 and its recent successes of its own signings (Texas, Editors, Agnes Obel…).

[PIAS] is also a driving force in the digital market that it has embraced since the start of the new millennium. In 2015, [PIAS] has just acquired one of the most respected and oldest classical music distribution and record companies : Harmonia Mundi.

Michel Lambot is currently a board member of Impala and Merlin.


Merida Sussex is the Managing Director of an award winning independent record label, Stolen Recordings. Established in London in 2005 and recognised for the quality and integrity of its products, the label has grown from small beginnings to an internationally licensed brand in Europe, the US, Japan and
Australia. Merida was the lead singer in The Paradise Motel, which allows her to bring an invaluable perspective to the label, ensuring that personal artist development is always front of mind. She was signed to an Australian record label then relocated to London. This experience has lead to an understanding of the unique challenges faced by Australian artists working overseas. She has also released music through the artist owned Australian label Left Over Life To Kill Records. 


1980 Graduated from Osaka Electronics College, Visual Engineering course

1981 Established Danger Crue

1985 Established Danger Crue Records

2000 Became Established Director of Japan Rights Clearance (now NexTone)

2003 Became a board member of FMPJ (Foundation of Music Producers Japan)

2007 Became Chairman of FMPJ

2007 Became a board member of PROMIC (Foundation for Promotion of Music Industry and Culture)

2007 Became an advisor of CPRA (Center for Performers’ Rights Administration)

2008 Became an advisor of aRma (audiovisual Rights management association)

2009 Became Managing Director of SYNC MUSIC JAPAN committee

2014 Became a special advisor of National Strategy Zone Contents Innovation Program

2015 Became an Advisory Board Member of Governmental Cool Japan Public-Private Partnership Platform

2015 Became a special advisor of FMPJ

Martin Mills set up Beggars Banquet in 1974, initially as record shops, and guided its expansion into the Beggars Banquet record label in 1977, and subsequently into other label and joint venture operations. The Beggars Group is now one of the biggest independent music groups in the UK, and worldwide the largest owner-run group of labels in the alternative sphere, with offices also in New York and nine other international capitals, together with joint venture companies in Spain and Australia. The group now comprises four primary active current labels, XL Recordings, in partnership with Richard Russell, 4AD, Rough Trade, and Matador.

He has been actively involved in promoting the interests of the independent sector, and was instrumental in the setting up of the Association of Independent Music in 1999, IMPALA in 2000, and most recently the Worldwide Independent Network, each representing the interests of the independent music industry, and Merlin, the independents’ rights licensing body. He has also participated on the boards of a number of pan-industry bodies such as PPL and UK Music.

Artists that he has worked with over the years include White Stripes, Pixies, Interpol, Cat Power, Mercury Rev, The Delgados, Basement Jaxx, The Prodigy, Badly Drawn Boy, The Cult, Bauhaus, Adele, Radiohead, Gary Numan, Dead Can Dance, Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver, and TV On The Radio.


Luciana Pegorer has been in the music business since 1991, her graduation year.  A former flute player, she started out in a live concert production company, followed by seven years at Warner Music Brasil. In 2003 she founded LPE Productions, a company that holds the brands Delira Musica and Music Trends Brasil. Delira Musica is a label and publishing company dedicated to classical, blues & jazz repertoires, recognized nationally as a quality brand. Music Trends Brasil was created in 2016 and is the company’s branch for education and events. Luciana served in the Brazilian Independent Music Association for 6 years, 2 as President and 4 as Managing Director. She served also as an Advisory Board member for WIN (Worldwide Independent Network) in the same period. Luciana is currently a Merlin Board Member and represents the association Women in Music in Brazil. Along with the management of her company, Luciana advises foreign companies on the Brazilian market, acts as a speaker in conferences in Brazil and abroad, and organizes and curates the International Conference Music Trends Brasil.

North America

Justin West is the President of Secret City Records and Secret City Publishing, both of which he founded in 2006 in Montreal, Canada. He has been immersed in music all of his life, spending many of his summers as teenager working for his father, Jim West (founder and president of Justin Time Records), and learning the business along the way. In 2004, Justin completed a Bachelor of Commerce with honours from McGill University, only to quench his thirst for music and entrepreneurship with Secret City shortly thereafter.

Today, Secret City is home to such artists as Patrick Watson, The Barr Brothers, Basia Bulat, Plants and Animals, Owen Pallett, and Suuns. Justin oversees all of Secret City’s strategy and day-to-day operations and has devoted his career to the continued growth and global development of both the label and publishing entities. On top of running Secret City, Justin is on the board of directors of both the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) and the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent On Record (FACTOR), and is the Canadian label representative for the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) Council, a global forum for the professional independent music industry based out of the UK.


Horst Weidenmüller founded !K7 Records in 1985 at the age of 21. He has consistently represented the wider independent music sector on a political level during the last decade. Serving as a board member of Merlin since its inception in 2007, Weidenmüller has been on the Impala board since 2003 and also served as a board member of VUT, the German Association Of Independent Music Companies.

Weidenmüller initially started !K7 as a music video production company, working with independent artists including Nick Cave, Mudhoney & Einstürzende Neubauten. He launched the pioneering ‘DJ-Kicks’ mix album brand in 1993. 22 years later and nearly 40 albums strong, ‘DJ-Kicks’ remains one of the most respected and prestigious DJ mix compilation series worldwide and has featured mixes by many of the leading players in original, classic and contemporary electronic music over the years including Carl Craig, Apparat, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Maya Jane Coles and John Talabot. DJ-Kicks reached its 50th edition in 2015 celebrating the release with the German DJ Koze.

!K7 began releasing artist albums in 1996, and has since been responsible for an array of progressive projects from across the electronic music spectrum. Key acts over the years have included Tosca, Boozoo Bajou, Bomb The Bass and Matthew Herbert. Recent signings include Brandt Brauer Frick, Hundred Waters and When Saints Go Machine.

In 2001 !K7 broadened its musical range with the incorporation of leading specialist labels Strut, Gold Dust, Rapster and Ever. With each label focusing on its own niche within the independent musical landscape, the !K7 Label Group has released new music from artists as varied as Pete Rock, Roy Ayers, Mulatu Astatke, Grandmaster Flash, Kid Creole and Lee Hazlewood. In 2013, leading electronic label AUS Recordings joined the !K7 family to help the label develop long term artist projects of the next generation of exciting electronic artists and producers.

The early 2000s also saw Weidenmüller introduce !K7’s Artist and Label services division, !K7 currently offers label services, marketing, sales and distribution to label partners including BBE, Crosstown Rebels, Luaka Bop, R&S, Rush Hour, Sonar Kollektiv and more as well as artist-lead labels for Tricky, Fat Freddys Drop, The Pop Group and Mykki Blanco.

In 2011, !K7 created a management division which currently looks after the interests of Tricky, Mykki Blanco and Brandt Brauer Frick.

!K7 has offices in Berlin, London and New York.


Civil engineer and graduate of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Emmanuel de Buretel was appointed in 1986 CEO of Virgin Publishing France by Richard Branson and went on to sign artists such as Youssou Ndour, Cheb Khaled, Mano Negra, Les Négresses Vertes. He was instrumental in the emergence of the hip hop genre in France with successes of IAM, Tonton David and many more.

In 1991, he created Delabel Records and signed artists such as Keziah Jones, IAM, Tonton David, les Rita Mitsouko, Rhoff, -M- and many others.

From 1992, he was at the head of Virgin Records France where he created Delabel, Source, Labels, a collection of creative independent cells under the “labels” banner which was considered to be one of the most credible independent platforms in Europe and an alternative to major companies. He brought artists like Manu Chao, Air, Daft Punk to international attention when he took over at the head of Virgin Continental Europe back in 1998.

During the same period, Ken Berry, former CEO of EMI Music Worldwide, let him setup his publishing company Delabel Editions. Emmanuel de Buretel signed writers and composers including Louise Attaque, Daft Punk, Air, Doc Gyneco, Cheb Mami, Madredeus. He also acquired the catalogs Sidonie Crescelles (Serge Gainsbourg, Julien Clerc, Jacques Brel...) and Vanessa Paradis (first two albums).

He became President of EMI Continental Europe in London in 2001, at the head of a group of 21 subsidiaries within which he developed a catalogue of European artists such as M83, Daft Punk, Tiziano Ferro, Lene Marlin or Royksopp, and signed David Guetta under Virgin France. He was instrumental in the acquisition of the independent label Mute by EMI.

In 2002, taking inspiration from the Mercury Prize, he creates the Prix Constantin which rewards young artists for having imprinted their talent on the world every year.

In disagreement with the vision of EMI, he left the company in March 2004 in order to create Because Group, a new independent London and Paris based structure, involved in all aspects of the music industry:

  • Because Music : musical and audiovisual production (Christine and The Queens, Major Lazer, Camille, Selah Sue, Metronomy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Justice, Amadou & Mariam, Manu Chao, Prince, Moby...)
  • Because Editions : publishing (Daft Punk, Foals, Stromae, Christine and The Queens, Danza Kuduro, Thomas Dutronc, NTM, Sebastian, Justice, Cassius) sub-publishing (Bob Marley, Imagem, Notting Hill...). Along with Xavier Niel, he bought out Jeune Musique, Claude François' catalog including the song « My Way ».
  • Corida : live production (Manu Chao, Radiohead, Daft Punk, Eric Clapton, Christine and The Queens, Selah Sue, Catherine Ringer, Rammstein, Justice...) and management (Manu Chao, Catherine Ringer)
  • La Cigale / La Boule Noire : concert halls (Paris).

He was knighted as a member of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

2015 sees the launch of Because Publishing in the U.S., the nomination of Emmanuel de Buretel at the Board of Merlin, his election as Chairman of the SPPF (neighboring right societies for independent labels in France) and his appointment as Knight of Legion d'Honneur.

Darius Van Arman founded Jagjaguwar in 1996, and currently is co-owner of Secretly Group, an Indiana-based label group that includes Secretly Canadian, Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, and The Numero Group. Artists his companies work with include Bon Iver (winner of two Grammy awards), The War On Drugs, Antony, Major Lazer and Dinosaur Jr., to name a few.

Darius Van Arman currently serves on the SoundExchange board, the A2IM board, on the Worldwide Independent Network council and as an observer on the Merlin board. In the summer of 2014, on behalf of A2IM and the U.S. Independents, he testified in front of U.S. Congress about music licensing and the independent sector's need for a level playing field, so we can compete and grow.


Chris has 20 years’ experience in the Australian music industry. Having started the first 5 years of his career as an artist music lawyer he moved to the Mushroom Group in 2001 where he has held a split position of Managing Director of Ivy League Records (The Rubens, Cloud Control, and The Vines) and Director of Legal & Business Affairs for the Mushroom Group.

At the start of 2017 Chris was promoted to C.O.O of Mushroom Labels and Mushroom Music Publishing. Mushroom Labels represent some of Australia most successful artists, including Vance Joy, The Temper Trap, Violent Soho,  Bliss n Eso and The Rubens as well as prominent international catalogues including Glassnote and Infectious/BMG.

Chris has held board positions with the Australian Independent Record Association, FBi radio, multiple Mushroom Group companies and recently sat on the steering committee for Deloitte’s report on the market share of Australian Independent Record Labels (published September 2017).


Bruno Guez is the founder and CEO of Revelator.

Inspired by the possibilities and challenges of today’s digital landscape, Bruno founded Revelator to enable the digital transformation of the creative industries, and become the best data management platform to serve rights holders and rights managers across the globe - from large organizations, medium sized indie labels and publishers to independent artists.

Born in Paris, France, Bruno studied Ethnomusicology at UCLA and started his music business career in Los Angeles in 1993, after founding the record label, Quango Music Group. Through Quango, Bruno quickly became a tastemaker DJ on LA’s seminal radio station KCRW and underground clubs.

Bruno’s A&R skills caught the ear of legendary industry executive and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, and soon after Quango became a subsidiary of Blackwell’s Island Records, later moving to Blackwell’s venture Palm Pictures. Through Island Records, Quango released early music from the likes of TrickySneaker PimpsBasement Jaxx, Kruder and Dorfmeister, Bomb the Bass and Talvin Singh amongst many others. 

In between 2001-2004 Bruno signed and developed breakthrough artists Zero 7 (Sia) and Bitter:Sweet, finding success in digital markets, sync licensing through film, television, and advertising.

Alongside the label, Bruno served as Creative Director for Guy Laliberte’s Cirque du Soleil, crafting the soundtracks of the live entertainment shows. Bruno’s interest in music curation began in 1995 when Chris Blackwell asked him to create the musical experience for his boutique Island Outpost Hotels. This landmark lifestyle branding work continues to this day, not only for the resorts but also Chris Blackwell’s Spotify channel. Over the last 25 years, Bruno’s work in branding and music identity helped define other brands and retail experiences, including luxury eyewear company Oliver Peoples, the Standard Hotel and vintage retailer American Rag. 

In 2010, Bruno realized his record label Quango would need new tooling to grow, and saw a clear opportunity to build a better music industry by providing greater transparency in copyright management and royalty reporting. The explosion of data, and the lack of modern solutions would become a challenge for labels and publishers to provide the core services to their artists and writers. If he wanted to continue running a digital music business, he needed to build an integrated solution that would be as easy to use as a web or mobile application – It was time for Revelator to be born.

By the summer of 2012, Bruno had built the foundation of Revelator - a copyright management and data platform for digital business. Today, Revelator manages close to 1 million sound recordings, serves over 100,000 rights holders, processes over 10 billion transactions per year, and generates over 200,000 monthly royalty statements.

Revelator is innovating with today’s cloud-based technologies and distributed systems architecture to build the first truly Open Distributed Platform for IP Rights, by providing greater transparency, scale and automation for the global management of digital assets, rights administration, royalty collections and distribution of payments.

CEO - Merlin

Charles Caldas is CEO at Merlin - the global rights agency representing the world’s most important independent music companies.

The organisation acts to ensure its members have effective access to new and emerging revenue streams and that their rights are appropriately valued and protected. These members embody over 20,000 independent record labels and distributors, representing some of the world’s most important independent artists, and command around a 10% share of the global and US music market.

Since commencing operations in May 2008, Merlin has struck deals with a wide variety of digital services including Spotify, Beats Music, YouTube, Google Play, Rdio and Deezer and reached a number of copyright infringement settlements on behalf of its members with, amongst others, Limewire, XM Satellite Radio and Grooveshark.

In February 2013, Merlin was named among the world’s 10 most innovative companies in music by Fast Company magazine.

In March 2013, Charles was recipient of IMPALA’s annual outstanding contribution award, which recognises the unrivalled efforts of an individual or organisation to promote and develop European independent music and the sector’s diversity.

In January 2014 Charles was included in the Billboard Magazine International Power List, which highlights the achievements of executives who drive our business forward with their artistic and business vision.

Merlin Chairman

Dave Hansen has spent his entire 30-year career working in the independent music business. He is the SVP of Business Development at Epitaph and ANTI- and was previously the GM for Epitaph for the past 21 years. Here he ran the day-to-day operations, including overseeing marketing, sales, and distribution for one of the leading independent labels in the world. Dave is also part of the current Merlin Management board and has been part of this team for the past 6 years. He has also served as an A2IM board member for 2 separate terms that just ended this past July. Prior to Epitaph, Dave was the managing partner of Insomnia records. Insomnia records was the mail order service and one of the first Online stores for over 100 independent labels in the early 1990’s distributing over 1 Million catalogs annually. In the 80’s, Dave was the General Manager and partner at Doctor Dream records. Most recently, Dave Hansen is the founding partner of Independent Record Pressing, a vinyl pressing plant located in New Jersey making records exclusively for independent labels.