Extraordinary Professor of Music Industry Studies
Artist manager Billy O’Connell began his music career in 1985 immersed in Los Angeles rock venues and after-hours clubs. In 1986 he was named Talent Coordinator for the pioneering MTV alternative music series, "The Cutting Edge" where he seized the opportunity to bring previously "unheard” music to an American viewing audience.
By 1987, he was label manager of Sire Records, where he worked as advocate within Sire's parent company, Warner Brothers Records, for the roster of Sire artists including Lou Reed, The Ramones, The Replacements, Throwing Muses, The Smiths, and Talking Heads. In 1989, Billy left Sire to begin a career in artist management, at that time he represented Throwing Muses, Pixies and D. Sardy's Barkmarket.
Over the course of his 20+ years in music, Billy’s been an early adopter of new media and the Internet; he launched Throwing Muses' first website at a time when Mosaic was the only choice of browser, and created an mp3 subscription program way back in 1998, which is still in place today. He sat on the artist panel at the first-ever MP3 Summit in San Diego.
From 1999 through 2007 Billy also founded and ran Virtuous, the world's first fair-trade ticket agency, as an artist-owned alternative to Ticketmaster. Virtuous generated thousands of dollars for food banks nationwide and did several million dollars in business while offering the industry's lowest service fees and world-class customer service.
Experimenting with new music marketing models throughout his career, Billy’s a recognized thought-leader in issues of artists' sustainability through audience development. He’s committed to supporting musicians in their pursuit of productive and ongoing careers by guiding them toward best-practices, and helping to forge strong and supportive bonds with their audiences. To that end, in 2007 Billy co-founded the Coalition of Artists & Stake Holders (CASH Music) as an open-source software foundation focussed on musician businesses.
Billy has been with the faculty of the Music Industry Studies program at Loyola University since fall of 2009, where he teaches artist management and music marketing.