RTÉ Choice Music Prize “Conversations”

With four topical music industry discussion panels taking place between 12pm – 4.15pm (registration from 11am), Conversations brings together artists and music industry professionals to discuss and explore some of the key issues affecting both performers and the wider industry at the present time. Admission is free, but attendees will need to register for a ticket via here as spaces are limited.

Venue: BIMM, Dublin 8.

Date & Time: Thursday March 7th, 11am-4.15pm

This is a free event, but registration is essential as places are limitied.

Keynote Interview: Conor O’ Brien

Keynote Interview with Conor O’ Brien: Villagers.

As he prepares for the release of Villagers’ 6th album, Conor will be discussing his exceptional career – from his early days co-fronting Choice Music Prize-nominated indie sensation ‘The Immediate’, through signing to Domino Recording Company to playing sold out Villagers shows all over the world both solo and with a full band.


Following the kaleidoscopic adventure of Villagers’ fifth album Fever Dreams, award-winning Dublin singer-songwriter-instrumentalist-dramatist Conor O’Brien returns with the intimate inventory, That Golden Time, set for release on May 10th. This will be Villagers 6th studio album on Domino Records. It all started, of course, with Conor’s first band, The Immediate. Along the way, Conor has picked up nominations and awards for the Choice Music Prize, the Ivor Novellos and the Mercury Prize. Villagers have extensively toured in Ireland, UK and Europe, and have made several visits to play in the United States, Japan, Canada and Australia. Conor has collaborated with many artists including Paul Weller, Elvis Costello and John Grant.

Breaking Through in 2024

It’s a constantly changing and evolving landscape and there are a multitude of ways of making it to the top. But what is the best way to amplify your music and your brand in a meaningful way right now? This is your guide to the key boxes you have to tick in 2024 if you want to get noticed.


Nels Hylton (BBC Radio 1)
Matt Manner (Runway Artists)
Sheena Madden (Amplify Agency)
Paddy McLean (Co-General Manager Chaos Label / Polydor)


Nels Hylton

Nels is the host of Radio 1’s Future Alternative shining a light on the very best in brand new Alternative and underground music from across the globe.
With 10 years presenting experience – Nels has become one of the most trusted names in new music and one of the go to voices in the scene.
In 2020 – Nels covered Daniel P Carter on the Radio 1 Rock Show as a part of Radio 1’s Christmas Takeover before being given his new slot as the presenter of Future Alternative. He’s interviewed some of the biggest names in alternative music including Enter Shikari, Kid Brunswick and Beartooth.
He has also previously worked with Radio X hosting their overnight weekend show.
He is also one of the stream hosts for Scruff of the Neck TV Live on Twitch, which has seen him travel up and down the country for festival coverage including appearances at The Great Escape and Y Not Festival. Telling stories is second nature to Nels which makes for engaging interviews on air.
As well as Radio and TV – Nels is passionate about hosting live events, having hosted In the Round Festival at the Roundhouse and a brand new live music night for the alternative scene Upgrade LDN

Matt Manner

Matt Hanner is the founder of Runway, an independent booking agency based in London. With over a decade of experience in major agencies Matt has booked gigs and festivals across the world and into venues great and small. His roster current includes artists including Personal Trainer, Cosmo Pyke, Pom Poko, ROE, Algiers and The Futureheads, while he has previously booked for Rag’n’Bone Man, Everything Everything, Tiesto, Daughter, The Vaccines and many more.

Sheena Madden

Sheena Madden is the founder and Managing Director of Amplify Agency – one of Ireland’s leading creative arts PR agencies. She is also a lecturer in PR and Marketing at BIMM Dublin. In previous lives, she has been a journalist and an artist manager. She also spent 10 years as a Press Officer with RTÉ. Amplify Agency’s clients include Universal Music, Singular Artists, MNRK Music Group, Strange Brew, Six Shooter Records, Karakter Management, Leopardstown Racecourse, The Royal Irish Academy, TU Dublin and many more. As well as designing and running campaigns for some of the world’s biggest artists and major national events, Amplify has worked – and continues to work – with some of the most critically acclaimed independent artists in Irish music; artists like Gemma Hayes, Ailbhe Reddy, Denise Chaila, Elaine Mai, Wallis Bird, Farah Elle, Daithí, Nealo, Cosha and Maria Kelly – to name just a few. Sheena is also a core part of the team at Claddagh Records – Ireland’s iconic folk label, founded in 1959 by Garech Browne and currently undergoing an incredible era of rejuvenation, after signing a global licensing agreement with Universal Music in 2020. At Claddagh, she heads up PR campaigns for artists like ØXN, Niamh Bury and Lemoncello. In 2019, Sheena founded Amplify Agency because she wanted to help independent artists capture the attention of the right audiences with creativity, authenticity and integrity. This is something she is still extremely passionate about today.

The Long Arm of the Law – Are Music Lawyers the most important connectors in the Music Industry

With A&R becoming less focused on songs and personalities and more data-driven is a Music Lawyer now the most valuable piece in a rising artist’s jigsaw puzzle? One of the best routes for creating interest from key sections of the industry, they can also help secure a manager and an agent as well as introduce labels, publishers and DSPs…Are you already lost without one?


Ally Horn (Partner Russell’s London)
Will Headlam Wells (Statham Gill Davies London)
Willie Ryan (Solicitor / Barrister)


Ally Horn

Ally qualified as a solicitor in 2008 having previously gained her degree from Cambridge University. After qualification, she spent three years as an associate solicitor advising clients on a wide variety of high value corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, investments and company listings. In 2011, Ally became the Head of Legal and Business Affairs for a prestigious UK based entertainment business – SPZ Properties Ltd including Sarm Studios, Music Bank, Stiff Records and ZTT Records. She combined this position with that of Managing Director of a subsidiary business – a London based independent music publishing company, Perfect Songs Ltd. During this time Ally was responsible for managing a roster of 14 active song writers, putting together co-writing sessions, and dealing with licensing requests. In addition, she gained extensive experience across all aspects of the entertainment industry including drafting leases, licensing agreements, producer agreements and various commercial contracts. Ally joined Russells in October 2016 and works with both the corporate and commercial teams. She now acts for some of the most established names in the world of media, both in the UK and internationally. Her work encompasses a broad range of corporate and commercial transactions. In addition to her substantial legal and business experience, Ally has built up an extensive network of contacts and connections within the field of media, music and entertainment.

Will Headlam Wells

Will joined Statham Gill Davies in 2022. SGD are a leading London-based music and entertainment firm established over thirty years ago.
Since joining the firm Will has quickly built a roster of artists, writers and producers.
Before converting to law Will worked as an A&R for 10 years at Believe, the world’s largest independent distributor. In this time he signed and developed award-winning artists who have amassed billions of streams.
Having played violin and guitar from a young age, and toured and recorded in bands, music is a lifelong passion and it is where he willspecialise as a solicitor upon qualification.

The Future of Music – A Panel of experts from across Europe discuss how AI is changing the Industry, in real time

(In association with AIM Ireland)
Join us for ‘The Future of Music’ panel, where a diverse group of music industry trailblazers from across Europe will delve into the dynamic realm of AI’s real-time influence on the music business. Explore the transformative role of AI in day-to-day operations for music professionals, including tech, marketing, publishing, and independent labels. This engaging discussion goes beyond the legal aspects, focusing on how AI is reshaping the landscape and redefining the everyday workflows for industry experts and the artists they champion. Gain insights into the cutting-edge strategies and innovations that are propelling the music industry into an AI-driven future.

Hosted by Gill Dooley (CEO AIM Ireland)


Jaime Castañosa (Head of Marketing & Operations at Melboss)
Petra Kauraisa (Communications Executive & Consultant)
Ines Pagano (AMAEI – Portuguese Indie Trade association)


A proven senior leader in music, Gill Dooley is an independent music consultant, mentor and the CEO of AIM Ireland, Ireland’s national association for independent music. Bringing more than 20 years experience with her, Gill’s solution driven approach has seen AIM Ireland grow into a leading advocacy organisation since she took the helm in 2021. Gill began her career with EMI, and spent time working with Irish indie RMG Chart, New Zealand’s TWL and Hot Press before joining Universal Music in 2007. She spent 11 years as Director of Digital & Business Development before branching out on her own in 2018, working as an artist manager, and being the lead commercial consultant on an Enterprise Ireland funded audio tech project. Gill has provided mentor services for Keychange’s partnership with shesaid.so – we.grow and continues to be a mentor with Minding Creative Minds, and with private clients. Gill recently became the first Irish participant to be selected for the Music Leaders Network programme: a leadership programme for women, and non binary people in the music industry. Gill sits on the board of IMPALA and the European Music Managers Alliance, and represents AIM Ireland within the national Creative Industries Forum and the North West Regional Enterprise -Working Group for the Creative Economy.

Jaime Castañosa

Jaime is the Head of Marketing & Operations at Melboss. Melboss’ mission is to be the technological engine of the Music Industry providing insights for any artist in the world to reach their maximum potential by optimising available streaming resources and social platforms. Jaime has more than 12 years of experience in the entertainment industry, navigating his career path with an entrepreneurial driven mindset. The founder of two startups. Jaime has extensive experience in marketing, business and products: specially tech related, entertainment, and eco- friendly solutions.

Petra Kauraisa

Petra is a communications executive and consultant, who most recently served as the Executive Director of the European Music Managers’ Alliance. She has worked in music, film and live events, in Stockholm, London and Los Angeles. After having served as the Head of Marketing, Local for Diesel Music and Universal Music, as well as TV3 in Sweden, she has worked as an awards consultant in LA and on international publicity at film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin and Toronto. During the pandemic, Petra founded an advocacy network for all major companies, organizations and arenas in the Swedish live and event industry, which raised crucial public funds, and she’s also founded a non-profit that raised over €1 million for refugees. Petra holds a Master’s Degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California.

Ines Pagano

A team member with Portuguese indie trade association, AMAEI, Ines Pagano is a Master in Historical Musicology. Ines has a strong passion for the independent music sector, and works with IMPF (Independent Music Publishers International Forum) on their Creative Europe Network project, aimed at building the capacity of independent music publishers. A multi-linguist, Ines also works with Lusitanian – a new-model Publishing Company and One-Stop-Shop for Master-Synch Licensing based in Lisbon.