The legacy of founder and former CEO of The AristoMedia Group continues to live on through the company he worked tirelessly to build. A music industry veteran, Walker knew what change was all about, and he was never afraid to take a chance. Before coming to Nashville, Walker lived in Sydney, Australia, earning a degree in Economics with a major in Accounting & Law from Australia’s Sydney University. He moved to Nashville in late 1974, and after serving as VP of Operations for an independent record label for several years, he formed Aristo Music Associates, Inc. in April 1980. Walker’s natural instinct and versatility as a businessman were critical to his company’s longevity. “You simply won’t survive in this industry unless you’re able to adapt,” he says. It was this mindset that led to the birth of AristoMedia’s diverse set of marketing divisions such as AristoPR, AristoWorks, AristoVideo, Marco Promotions and Marco Club Connection.
Walker also played a large part in Country music’s international reach. His honors include the CMA President’s Award, CCMA’s Leonard T. Rambeau International Support Award, Operation Troop Aid Certification of Appointment, International Ambassador by International Country Music Day Organization, and the prestigious CMA’s 2013 Jo Walker Meador International Award, which is given to someone whose efforts have had an impact in expanding country music globally. In 2014 Walker was awarded the very first Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA)’s lifetime achievement award.
Walker also made lasting contributions during his four decades in the music industry through his efforts in other leadership positions outside of his company. He served on the boards of the Country Music Association, Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc., Academy of Country Music, The Canadian Country Music Association, Leadership Music, NARAS (The Recording Academy) and the Nashville Film Festival, where he served as President in 2004-05. In summer of 2015 the Country Radio Broadcasters presented Walker with the CRB President’s Award.
In his limited spare time, Walker enjoyed listening to music, watching movies, traveling, photography, and cheering for his hometown Tennessee Titans. Walker’s favorite song was “My Wish,” written by Jeffrey Steele and performed by Rascal Flatts, and always thought of his family when listening to the lyrics.
Whenever opportunity knocked, Walker was there to answer the door. The success of a business is often closely tied to the philosophy of the individual that started it. In the perpetual uncertainty that defines the entire breadth of the music industry today, Walker was always a self-professed “glass half-full kind of guy.” He will be sorely missed, but his legacy continues to live on in the many individuals and industry projects he gifted with his presence.