Legendary Canadian music entrepreneur Sam Feldman was honored by the Music Managers Forum of Canada, the evening before Canadian Music Week officially kicked off.

Feldman, the founder of Canadian booking agency Feldman and Associates, has been a central figure in the music industry for almost four decades, with involvement in television and film as well.

Feldman says his immediate response to the honor was to ask that his partner in the management side of his business, Steve Macklam, to be included as well.

Though that didn't happen, he says, "it gives us an option for another year."

"Awards are like funny things and you don't think about it," he adds. "I used a line once when picking up an award for an artist that was out of town. I said, 'Awards seem to have no credibility until you win one.'"

Feldman, who continues to work directly with Elvis Costello, Norah Jones and Diana Krall, says he is particularly looking forward to his involvement with James Taylor, who will launch a massive summer tour with Carole King later this year.

He's optimistic about the industry, despite the downturn in album sales.

"Though I'm not always that way, I'm kind of optimistic when it comes to this," he says. "Our business is the live business and it has held up nicely. We're doing better numbers than ever."

The difficulty going forward, he says, is in creating new acts. "The challenge is how do we create new stars in this environment," he explains.

Feldman was the fourth Canadian manager honored, following the likes of Bruce Allen, Rush manager Ray Danniels and Bernie Finkelstein. He was presented at a reception last night (March 10) by former Sony Music Canada president Denise Donlon, currently CBC Radio's executive director. The late Leonard Rambeau, Anne Murray's manager, was also honored.

Canadian Music Week's pre-conference started yesterday with a look at emerging digital technologies, with the main conference starting today (March 11). Festival showcases by bands from Canada and abroad also began last night, running through to Sunday.