Dane Liska ('08) is Label Manager for The Independent Label Services Group and is a great example of how graduates can adapt to a fast changing industry. After graduating OIART’s music production school, Dane quickly became a Junior Engineer at Cherry Beach Sound in Toronto working with artists such as Jordan Knight, K'naan, Rihanna and Drake. He eventually went freelance to try tour managing as well, finding success with Stereos, Blake McGrath and Craig Smart. He also worked shows across Canada, the US and Germany with artists like DVBBS, Flo Rida, LMFAO, Down With Webster, Jully Black, Future the Prince, Hedley and more. Dane ran everything from front of house sound to monitors and was even sub-in DJ on stage "...while being an all around babysitter/taxi!"
Dane soon began talking to a couple record labels owned by the same people he worked for (Culvert Music and FrostByte) and "they felt I could lend a hand. This opened the doors to work on some really cool projects - Matthew Good, Headstones, Saukrates, OB O'Brien and more." From there Dane was promoted to work for industry heavyweight Dominique Zgarka, Co-Founder and President of Koch Entertainment, now known as eOne Entertainment. Two years ago Zgarka, with a new found passion in the distribution industry, left eOne and started The Independent Label Services Group. Dane followed. "Working alongside him I help run the company as Label Manager."
Dane explains; "The ILS Group is a world wide distribution partner with Universal Music and Caroline. We offer independent artists and labels major label services, allowing them to remain an independent entity. Some labels will want help with any or all of the following - marketing, PR, manufacturing, publishing, distribution, recording, etc - and may not have the network to do so on their own. Since most majors won't give any direct attention to these projects or people, I have a dedicated team at Universal that will help accommodate their releases and goals and give them the attention they need.
"Currently we have contracts with 20 independent record labels worldwide (Culvert and FrostByte included), working with artists like Randy Bachman, BTO, Dada Life, Daniel O'Donnell, David Clayton-Thomas and Gino Vanelli to name a few. These agreements allow us to release all the music they wish worldwide and as they see fit. We are growing really fast and seem to be getting more and more albums and clients. We should be doubled in size by the year's end....fingers crossed!
"OIART is a place where only a select few get to spend every minute together living and breathing a common passion known as the music industry. If I'm on the road touring, in the studio, or at the office uploading music to distribution partners, every day I use fundamentals I was taught by my instructors and peers at the school. What I studied there, along with the confidence and courage to stand out and network towards a career was the base foundation that allowed me to have the experiences I have today."