Fanshawe grads move their music business to West Grey County

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: CREDIT: BASELINEMUSIC
baselineMUSIC is moving their Toronto-based company to West Grey County.

baselineMUSIC, a music management and marketing company run by Fanshawe grads Cortney Harkin and Sean Russell, is on the move to West Grey County.

The decision to move was made in part due to COVID-19, but for Russell, the desire to return to his former stomping grounds had always been the goal.

“I was born and raised in Dundalk, Ont., which is located in Grey County,” said CEO Russell. “After finishing school in London, I moved to Toronto to get my start in the music business. I always hoped that at some point I would be able to relocate my business to Grey County, but COVID-19 expedited the process.”

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Sean Russell, picturedSean Russell, pictured with his family. CREDIT: SEAN RUSSELL

Russell launched baselineMUSIC back in 2008. Eight years later, he partnered with Harkin, a marketing expert and fellow Fanshawe College graduate.

“The work ethic instilled in the Business Administration Marketing program has come with me to every position I’ve been in,” said Harkin on her time at Fanshawe. “The professors in the program were incredible; the hands-on experiences and intense projects, presentations and competitions were all extremely valuable.”

The team at baselineMUSIC have worked with various heavy-hitters in the industry, including Slash, Noah Reid of Schitt’s Creek, and Idris Elba. But, Russell and Harkin have witnessed firsthand the effect that COVID-19 has had on the music industry. Still, they have hope that things will soon bounce back.

“Live touring is a financial pillar for most artists and their teams, which was heavily affected by the pandemic,” said Russell. “Many artists have found new fans and income through live streaming, but it is impossible to replace the live component. Despite the hit that the industry has suffered, I believe it will come back stronger than ever.”

Harkin added that there is a bubbling music scene in West Grey County, one that she hopes the team at baselineMUSIC will be able to contribute to and participate in.

“There are really great things happening nearby, such as the Summer Folk Music Festival in Owen Sound and countless events in Blue Mountain and Collingwood,” she said. “Locally, the music scene is quite small. We have done shows in the past and have a venue secured for future gigs. We are excited about building upon that. Bringing arts and entertainment opportunities and enhancing the culture in the community is really important to us.”

Cortney Harkin, pictured with her family.Cortney Harkin, pictured with her family. CREDIT: CORTNEY HARKIN

Additionally, the move promises to bring internship opportunities and jobs to the area that Fanshawe students can look forward to in the future.

“As of right now, we’re going to maintain a digital business atmosphere until it’s safe to be back in person,” said Russell. “At which point our mandate and focus will be placed on continuing to scale up the marketing division. Future internship opportunities could include positions in marketing, public relations, administration and artist relations. Students are encouraged to keep up with us on social media so they can get a sense of what we do and who we work with.”

Harkin added that the biggest hope with the move to West Grey County is to enrich the community with jobs and opportunities, while also catapulting the live music scene.

Despite being a few years out of Fanshawe, both Harkin and Russell said they carry the lessons they learned there with them everywhere they go.

“Fanshawe was a great opportunity to spend every day with like-minded people who shared the same aspirations and goals,” said Russell. “Many of the people I work with in different aspects of the industry are fellow graduates of [Music Industry Arts].”

Students interested in pursuing internship opportunities with baselineMUSIC are encouraged to visit the company’s website and watch their social media for future postings.