Backbeat: Fontana Hosts Event for NYC Labels, We're Late But Rock the Joint Anyway
Backbeat: Fontana Hosts Event for NYC Labels, We're Late But Rock the Joint Anyway

Retail Track likes to be everywhere but sometimes writing stories in the office is a time consuming process that takes precedence over sharing goodwill with the industry. But when events are just around the corner from the Billboard office at a place like Phoebe's on Bowery Avenue in Manhattan, I can still make an appearance, even if it at the tail-end of the event. Such was the case when Fontana was in town recently, hosting an event for their New York-based labels, friends and other luminaries they like to share a drink with.

Being late meant Retail Track missed a chance to finally have a drink with Paul Rosenberg, who manages Eminem; Glassnote president Daniel Glass, whose label is red hot; Stu Fine, who does A&R at Savoy; and Nabil Ayers, GM at 4AD; who all were there earlier. But I get there in time to help save the day, i.e. use-up the remaining drink tickets, which otherwise would have went un-used.

L-R: SVP of Marketing and Label Relations at Fontana Bryan Mead, Mark Levinsohn of Levinsohn Associates, P.C. and Elliot Resnik of Shukat Arrow Hafer Weber & Herbsman LLP attend the Fontana event

Also, Retail Track managed to catch up with Bryan Mead, Fontana senior VP of marketing and label relations as he was chatting with a couple of entertainment lawyers, Mark A. Levinsohn of Levinsohn Associates P.C. and Eliott Resnik of Shukat Arrow Hafer Weber & Herbsman LLP. After the Fontana event, Resnik confided that he was on his way to see a band that had just signed with a major label, but he wouldn't reveal the name of the band or the label, no matter what threats were conveyed to him.

L-R: VP of Independents Steve Harkins, VP of Finance and Business Development Jeff Clayborne and VP of Sales Lloyd Hummel, all of Baker & Taylor, and Fontana SVP of Marketing and Label Relations Bryan Mead attend the Fontana event

Next, I stumbled into the rarest of all industry participants in NYC, Steve Harkins, VP of independents at Baker & Taylor, a wholesaler of entertainment media software, i.e. CD, DVDs and books. But Harkins shut up as Retail Track approached because he apparently was telling the Fontana lads how he plans on keeping his part-time hobby alive at next year's NARM, if he gets the chance to once again publicly make a joke at the expense of their boss, Universal Music Group Distribution president and CEO Jim Urie. Next to Harkins, starting from the left are Jeff Clayborne, VP of finance and business development, who is next to Harkins; Lloyd Hummel, VP of sales; and Mead.

L-R: Universal Music Enterprise VP of Special Markets and New Business Gene Zacharewicz and National Accounts Manager for Optical Experts Manufacturing Ric Sherman attend the Fontana event

Moving right along, Retail Track cornered Universal Music Enterprise VP of special markets and new business Gene Zacharewicz and Ric Sherman, national accounts manager for Optical Experts Manufacturing, a full-service disc manufacturing plant. Zacharewicz reminisced about his days with Heartland Music, a firm that licensed music and sold directly to consumers, which ultimately was acquired by Time Life. Meanwhile, Sherman, who appears to be the hardest working man in the music business and is out at every industry event, constantly reminding label executives that his company is the preferred place to do business with when it comes to manufacturing CD. At the Fontana event, Sherman showed that he is a man with vision, even when his eyes are closed.

L-R: Fontana Regional Account Manager Denise Garbo, Universal Music Enterprises & Verve Regional Sales & Marketing Director Tony Kulzer, Newsweek/The Daily Beast's Christine Notaro Kauffman, VP of Independents at Baker & Taylor Steve Harkins and SVP of Corporate Communications & Content at Rightsflow Michael Kauffman attend the Fontana event

On my way out the door, Retail Track exchanged hellos with Fontana regional account manager Denise Garbo; Universal Music Enterprises & Verve regional sales & marketing director Tony Kulzer; former Universal Music Group employee Christine Notaro Kauffman, who currently works at Newsweek/The Daily Beast; Baker & Taylor's Harkins; and RightsFlow senior VP of corporate communications & content Michael Kauffman. And last but not least, exchange goodbyes with Fontana director of production John Digillio; Clayborne, Kulzer, and former UMG employee Jessica Qussar, who is currently district marketing manager with Vita Coco.

L-R: Fontana Director of Production John Digillio, VP of Finance and Business Development at Baker & Taylor Jeff Clayborne, Universal Music Enterprises & Verve Regional Sales & Marketing Director Tony Kulzer and Vita Coco District Marketing Manager Jessica Qussar attend the Fontana event