Founder, Curve Music / Cerberus Consulting
BRIAN HETHERMAN
Founder, Curve Music / Cerberus Consulting
Over his 25-plus year career Brian Hetherman has developed a truly overarching perspective and deep skill set that he’s applied relentlessly to helping artists reach their goals. In that time he has worked in virtually all facets of the music industry and remains, as ever, driven by a deep, abiding passion for music. Since 2003, after stepping out on his own and founding Curve Music and Cerberus Management and Consulting, the music industry veteran has brought that passion to bear on innumerable artist’s careers, and, in mid-2018, re-launched his label, Sonic Envy, as both a label and a music services company to better serve the evolving needs of artists. “When I moved Curve over to country and roots exclusively in 2011, I needed another label to handle other genres and founded Sonic Envy, but it’s been semi-dormant for a couple of years,” Hetherman says. “As I moved toward artist services, I thought, it was far too cool a name to disappear and it really fits the vibe this company has.” Sonic Envy, while still a label, offers multiple, custom tailored services; including A&R, project management and consulting, social media promotion, funding/grant writing, CD/vinyl manufacturing, merch, distribution, rights and royalty administration and export services. “It’s almost like an à la carte menu for artists who need specific services,” Hethermen adds. Given the depth of experience he brings to the table, Hetherman is uniquely qualified to provide those services. Hetherman fell hard for the music industry early on while working in record stores and dj’ing in Toronto clubs. Soon he was offered a gig by prestigious independent label, Duke Street Records – then home to iconic Canadian artists like Jane Siberry and Art Bergmann – and found himself involved in every aspect of the business. In 1990 he moved to the majors, taking a position as a Retail Marketing and Sales Rep at MCA Records (later Universal Music), and then as a Radio Promotion and Marketing Rep for high profile acts including Peter Gabriel, Guns ‘n Roses, Elton John, Aerosmith, The Ramones and The Tragically Hip. Five years on, Hetherman began heading up MCA Music Publishing and became the youngest A&R Director in Canada; proving his talent for identifying talent with signings including Soul Decision, Holly McNarland, Jason McCoy, and others whose records went on to achieve Gold and Platinum-selling status. At MCA Hetherman’s love of creative collaboration with artists grew exponentially, and that has informed every aspect of his career since then. “Working closely with artists is what I enjoy doing most. It’s so much a part of who I am and I think the most obvious things I bring to the table is, I’m also uniquely qualified because I’ve lived half my life in the major label world and half independently and can offer detailed insight into both sides.” Consequently, going forward Hetherman looked for opportunities not only to foster and champion Canadian talent, but would strengthen his ability to do so. As a judge on the debut season of Popstars (2000) Hetherman got a thorough education in the television/media side of music and cemented his already established reputation as a straight shooter. “I never minced words if I thought somebody didn’t have talent. So anyone who didn’t know I was straight up and honest before that certainly did afterwards.” In 2001 he was tapped for the position of Executive Director of the Radio Starmaker Fund. “They wanted someone who knew the tricks of the trade and understood how to market an artist in Canada,” Hetherman says. While admittedly a left turn from his previous gigs, with its mandate of administering funds to promote and market Canadian recording artists, Starmaker was a definite fit with his passion for helping launch the careers of new Canadian talent. Foreseeing dramatic changes to come in the industry, Hetherman became convinced that a new business model was necessary; a model that combined management, label and publishing services and involved more equitable partnerships with artists. That prompted him to create Cerberus Artist Management and Curve Music, which soon attracted an eclectic, high calibre roster of talent including Holly McNarland, Wide Mouth Mason, Suzie McNeil, Turn Off The Stars and The Dead South. Over the years Cerberus has also provided consulting services for Canadian Music Week, World Vision’s Artists Associate Program, Liberty Studios and Gibson Guitars among others. Additionally, Hetherman held executive roles at the International Music Managers Forum, Music Managers Forum Canada (President 2005-2010), the Canadian Country Music Association and Country Music Association of Ontario, Music Ontario (Manager 2015–2017), Mega Music (VP of Business Development and Industry Relations 2011–2014) and the Musicians’ Rights Organization Canada. His work at the helm of Starmaker, as well as four years on FACTOR’s Board of Directors, service as FACTOR VP of Industry Affairs from 2009-2011 and interim General Manager in 2010 also provided him with an intimate understanding of Canadian music funding. Few people have amassed the wealth of experience Hetherman has, which makes him highly and uniquely qualified to advise artists and steward their careers domestically and internationally. There’s perhaps no better example than the global success of Regina-based roots outfit, The Dead South, who were managed by Cerberus from 2015 to 2018 and released their sophomore record, Illusion and Doubt on Curve Music in 2015. During Hetherman’s time managing the band their debut album, Good Company (2015), reached #5 on the Billboard Retail albums in the US and Canada and remained in the Top 100 for a year. The video for ‘In Hell I’ll Be Good Company’ hit 100 Million views on YouTube. Additionally, the band has received Juno nominations for Roots Album and Breakthrough Artist of the Year as well as the Canadian Independent Music Association’s Road Gold certification for ticket sales in excess of 25,000 over a 12-month period in 2015.   Throughout his career, Hetherman has worked tirelessly to advocate for the artists he’s represented personally and – through his efforts in other sectors of the industry – as many Canadian artists as possible. As the industry and musical landscape changed, he adapted constantly, taking risks, but also taking the long view as opposed to settling for short-term gains and fleeting success.   Sonic Envy is the latest undertaking in that ongoing evolution, but also an expression of his preferred approach to helping artists reach their goals, one he pioneered at Curve and Cerberus; an approach predicated on putting artists first, and characterized by his willingness to release artist commitments from label/publishing to pursue a more logical path.   “Sonic is providing much needed services, and short term deals, but that’s always made sense to me because I’ve always considered myself management first. And I believe that if an artist succeeds, I succeed.”