2024 Workshop Information

Presented by the Montauk Music Festival & Sponsored By The Montauk Sun
Food Sponsor- Shagwong Restaurant and Tavern

FRIDAY 5/17/24-

As the current landscape of the music industry continues to shift and evolve, for already bootstrapped independent artists, it can seem like a daunting task to figure out how they should be focusing their efforts and prioritizing their time, especially when preparing for a new release campaign.
This session will discuss:
*the different options available to release your music and their pros and cons: record label or DIY
*the various revenue streams: streams and sales of master recordings, publishing, live music, and merchandise
*best practices on marketing your music to existing and new audiences

Free Lunch for Artists 12:15- 1:00pm
If you missed Friday's industry panel, come to The Main Stage from 11:00am-1:00pm on Saturday at the Montauk Yacht Club and discuss those topics and many more in a more informal setting and also one-on-one Q&A's if you prefer.

 2024 Speakers –


Lou Plaia

A&R Director, North America: Sentric Music Publishing

Owner/Manager: Hot Rats Entertainment

Lou Plaia is the A&R Director, North America for Sentric Music Group, a global, award-winning independent music publisher. Plaia’s main role is to add to Sentric’s roster via new signings, business opportunities, partnerships and acquisitions. Sentric offers rights management services to over 400,000 songwriters and represents more than 4 million works globally either directly or via partners, including music publishers, independent labels, management companies and distributors that benefit from Sentric’s publishing administration, co-publishing, creative services, and sync licensing.

Plaia also launched Hot Rats Entertainment in January 2022 and manages the Long Island based female-fronted metalcore band, Deadlands.

Plaia is also an Adjunct Professor at Five Towns College in New York where he teaches classes on Artist Management and Concert Production & Promotion.

In 2006, Plaia co-founded ReverbNation and “disrupted” the music business by equaling the playing field when they began to offer ALL artists the promotional tools, distribution, publishing administration, and opportunities previously only available to artists who were signed to record labels. Within a few years, it became the largest DIY Artist Services Platform for musicians in the world, with more than 5 million artists/bands using the platform. Plaia and his partners sold the company in November 2021.

From 2002-2005, Plaia was the Head of Marketing and Artist Development for Atlantic Records imprint, Lava Records. And from 1990-2002, Plaia was VP of Strategic Marketing at Atlantic Records. In those roles, he worked in some capacity with Kid Rock, Matchbox 20, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Simple Plan, Jewel, Hootie & the Blowfish, Stone Temple Pilots, Collective Soul, Lil’ Kim, O.A.R., Skindred, George Carlin, Mike Stern and many others.

Plaia is a member of the Independent Record Label Association (A2IM) and Music Manager’s Form.



Vanessa Ferrer

Founder/CEO: MerchCat

Vanessa Ferrer is the founder and CEO of Merch Cat and has been a successful

businesswoman for over 15 years in finance and the music business. A NYS CPA and Alumna of N.Y.U., Ferrer started to marry her passion for music and her business experience in 2007, solidifying her music business acumen via Berklee College of Music. Armed with the heart of an artist, the belief that she could make a difference, and the drive to make it happen, Ferrer founded InFocus Artist Management in 2009.

After managing several touring clients and consulting with high profile industry professionals, she realized a market need for emerging artists and their business teams. Using her multi-faceted background, she developed and launched (December 2015) Merch Cat (, a musician friendly platform for artists to sell and manage merchandise at live shows.

Since then, Ferrer has quickly become a familiar face and voice at both artist and industry focused conferences. Being passionate about education, she has participated in over 20 speaking engagements about the importance of merchandise as an artist revenue stream, fan engagement, and other music business interests. Ferrer is a member of the Recording Academy (NARAS), the Independent Record Label Association (A2IM), the Music Business Association, and Women In Music.

Darren Dalessio

Vice President of A&R: Spinefarm Records/Universal Music Group

Darren Dalessio epitomizes innovation and strategic prowess within the music industry, boasting over two decades of experience as a dynamic A&R executive and marketing luminary. With a keen eye for talent cultivation, he has left an indelible mark on the global music landscape. At the genesis of his career, Darren founded and helmed his own Management/Consulting firm, providing A&R expertise to powerhouse labels such as Atlantic, Columbia, and Virgin, among others. Transitioning seamlessly into artist management at 5B Artist Management, Darren collaborated with titans of rock music, refining his ability to sculpt careers and amplify artistic visions. Today, as the Vice President and Head of U.S. A&R at Spinefarm/Universal Music Group for the past decade, Darren has been instrumental in pioneering the label’s artist roster, propelling forward an eclectic array of rock, metal, and alternative talents, shaping the soundscape of tomorrow.

Jake Zimmerman

Partner / Talent Agent: Sound Talent Agency

Jake Zimmerman is a seasoned music industry professional with a dynamic career trajectory that epitomizes passion, dedication, and innovation. Beginning his journey as an independent promoter, he quickly made waves by booking over 100 shows annually, showcasing a knack for identifying emerging talent and curating unforgettable experiences for audiences. This early immersion laid the foundation for his expansive career, marked by an unwavering commitment to the growth and evolution of the music landscape.

Transitioning seamlessly into the role of a talent agent, Jake found their niche at Sound Talent Group, where he has flourished for the past six years; taking on clients such as Knocked Loose, The Happy Fits, Set It Off and many more. As a key member & Partner of the team, he has played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of artists and musicians, leveraging his industry insights, and extensive network to secure transformative opportunities and forge enduring partnerships.

In addition to his role at Sound Talent Group, Jake holds the esteemed position of Co-Owner/Partner at AMH, where they spearhead business development initiatives and curate the venue’s calendar with a keen eye for diversity, innovation, and artistic integrity. His strategic vision and collaborative approach has elevated AMH to new heights, establishing it as a cornerstone of the local music scene and a destination for both established acts and burgeoning talent alike.

Rick Eberle
Founder/CEO: Magnetic Vine
Partner: G&R Events
As a Record Executive, Rick Eberle made a name for himself working on
online initiatives for artists such as Pink, Usher, Outkast, Dido and others at
Arista Records in NYC. He spent time in venue management and booking for
The Downtown, presenting artists like Jewel, Fall Out Boy and Maroon 5. Rick
has also had a long career in radio, including time at 92.7 WLIR FM and at
94.3 The Shark, where he was instrumental in the initial branding and launch
of the station as Promotions Director. Rick has hosted Rising Stars Radio
Monday nights at 10pm EST on 90.3 WHPC FM at Nassau Community College
in Garden City since 2017. He also previously presented his "Rick's Rising
Stars" TV show on Fios1, which aired over 100 episodes. Additionally, he is
an accomplished singer, songwriter and guitarist. As a BMI affiliated artist,
several of Rick's songs have been used by Nickelodeon on their shows "Drake
& Josh", "Zoey 101" and "iCarly".
Rick’s label services incubator Magnetic Vine offers record label/ film studio
marketing services, publicity, social media, talent management and booking
duties for venues, festivals, conventions, TV/radio stations, bands, artists,
actors, authors, chefs, sports figures and companies of all kinds. In music,
the company has successfully produced and promoted events with Long
Island stars like Eddie Money, Ninedays, Alessi Brothers, John Coltrane
Home, Sky Katz, Forever in Your Mind and other well known acts such as Gin
Blossoms, Spin Doctors, Sugar Ray, Zak Starkey of The WHO, Trey Songz,
Peter Tosh Estate, Heavy Metal Hall of Fame, Jeffrey Gaines, Fun Lovin
Criminals, Ryan Leslie, Push Play and others. In film, the company has
strategized promotion campaigns, run celebrity red carpets and handled
onsite coordination at Film Festivals such as Long Island Film Expo, Long
Beach Intl Film Festival and Gold Coast Intl Film Festival – which have
included appearances by cinema heavyweights Ed Burns, Hugh Grant, Daniel
Baldwin, Brian Dennehy, Paul Sorvino, Susie Essman, Phylicia Rashad, Baz
Luhrmann and so many more.
Rick is a Partner at G&R Events, which curates the Jones Beach Bandshell
Summer Concert Series, many shows at Eisenhower Park Lakeside Theater,
and regularly brings in acts to theaters and venues across the east coast.
Rick also works with 501 C3 Non For Profit The Plaza Cinema & Media Arts
Center in Patchogue, screening quality mainstream, independent, foreign
films and operas and plays captured live from world stages, presenting series
and festivals with guest speakers, offering field trips, classes, and workshops
in filmmaking and animation.

Charlie Z / DRMAGDN

Charlie Z a.k.a. DRMAGDN Cyborg Drummer / DJ is a BMG Records Artist and is the Founder & Director for The DRM Alliance Digital Marketing Agency NYC. DRMAGDN has 25+ Million Total Plays / Views, 750k+ Blue Check Verified Followers & 100k+ peak Livestream viewers per session. DRMAGDN has Toured 33 Countries, 43 US States, is on 250+ Records & has played The Winter Olympics, Lollapalooza, MetLife Stadium, The View, The Today Show, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall & Royal Albert Hall. DRMAGDN has been featured in AP News, Yahoo! News, NY Daily News, American Songwriter Magazine, New York Times, NFL Channel Sirius/XM Radio & Broadway World. DRMAGDN has a full sponsorship brand deal with GLOW WATER with Kylie Jenner & Dak Prescott (QB of NFL Dallas Cowboys) plus 25+ other brands including Pearl Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Evans Drumheads and Audix Mics among others.

The DRM Alliance is a Full-Service Digital Marketing One Stop for organically growing digital marketing campaigns from inception to content creation and uploading. The agency’s focus is in the creation and filming of viral vertical videos and content calendar managing. This is in addition to digital marketing strategy, influencer brand partnerships, AI integration, social media management, ads & commercial campaigns, slogan/mascot/jingle integrations, world class audio / video production, SEO & online reputation management, radio/tv/billboard ads and E-Commerce Funnels. The DRM Alliance is celebrating 100+ Million Total Plays / Views For Clients Worldwide across Tech, Medical, Music, Video, Photo, Fashion, Charity, Fine Art, Comedy, Apps, Books, Online Courses, Dance, Textiles, Home Goods, Vintage Clothing & Small Biz.