Independents Rising – A look at 2012

Posted in News by A2IM

Independent music labels and their artists continued to move forward in 2012, repeatedly proving the value we bring to the music industry and fans. As we look back, our 2012 State of the A2IM Indie Community highlights many promotional & financial success stories:

  • As reported by Billboard, Independent market share of recorded music sales based upon label ownership rose to 32.57%, we thank our good friends at Billboard for their reporting perspective! By our computations we also note that digital album share has risen to over 39% of market, significantly underscoring that our Independent community sells a body of work, not just singles.
  • The increased market share is not a surprise as Independents controlled the top slot on the charts for seven consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 with Glassnote’s Mumford & Sons’ ‘Babel,’ Broken Bow’s Jason Aldean’s ‘Night Train,’ and Big Machine’s Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’ [October-November 2012].  During the Fall period diverse acts such as All Time Low- Hopeless, DJ Drama-eOne, Papa Roach- Eleven Seven, Deadmau5- Ultra, Lumineers- Dualtone, Grizzly Bear-Warp, The xx-Beggars/XL, Animal Collective- Domino, Cat Power-Beggars/Matador, Punk Goes Pop-Fearless, The Sword & All That Remains- Razor & Tie and the Nashville Soundtrack-Big Machine all made the Billboard Top 20.
  • On the digital performance front, payouts to Independents by our SoundExchange advocates continue to soar! Pandora estimates that Independent music plays represent almost 40% of their steams and Sirius reports Independents are 30-35% of their programming. We thank our friends at Pandora for answering our requests by giving Independent labels an improved portal to submit music and other informational support during the past year, and thank Sirius for providing our diverse programming to their audiences.
  • Independents are even seeing improved success at terrestrial radio and we thank Clear Channel for including Independents in their bi-annual programmer label presentations and look forward to increasing the Independent label community’s radio access and share of plays with Clear Channel and other radio groups in 2013.
  • A2IM’s export funding initiatives came to fruition this year with the first government funded trade mission to Asia in September, and the MDCP funding grant. We thank the U.S. Department of Commerce ITA, U.S. SBA, NY State, Tennessee and our legislative champions like Congressman Jerry Nadler for making this happen. The Recording Academy support of our export funding initiatives was vital.
  • We thank the Recording Academy for their support on many fronts. Critical recognition of Independents included the share of Independent Grammy nominations crossing the 50% level and our community’s 34 wins included major categories like Best New Artist, as well as many best album categories.  Our successes were across the board at many award shows; our members even swept all of the awards at the 11th annual Americana Music Awards.
  • A2IM held its first Libera Awards, where Independents honored fellow Independents, during Indie Week in NYC last June. The event was a sold-out success and received critical acclaim as A2IM members claimed their Libby’s and we honored Beggars’ Martin Mills with a Lifetime Achievement Award! Libera means freedom in Latin; Independents are free and not confined in the mainstream, not dependent, get it? The A2IM “Libby’s” celebrated that freedom and how our community is not limited by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas and open to new ideas.
  • Indie Week 2012 continued to grow, with over 500 executives and staff gathering in NYC to discuss issues and learn from each other. In 2012, the focus was on garnering greater publicity access, optimizing YouTube monetization practices, reflecting on digital case studies, and discussing Pan European licensing, among other topics. The schedule was packed with one-on-one networking meetings, panels and roundtables, which led to the fourth annual Indie Roadmap discussion and white paper. We thank our speakers who included Pandora’s Tim Westergren, Free Ride author Rob Levine and keynoter U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel.
  • We geared up for the launch of the non-invasive Copyrights Alerts program, which aims to reduce unlicensed music acquisition and we thank our colleagues at the RIAA for our inclusion.
  • A2IM continued to stay in touch with Washington D.C. to advocate our positions and file on issues ranging from International trade to Copyright regulations. Many of the filings were made at the request of U.S. Government Agencies who approached us for the Independent views. We also practiced advocacy on legislation like IRFA, which we oppose, and as a member of the World Independent Network (WIN) issued the Indie Manifesto.
  • We continued to educate our members so they can make informed choices based on understanding all sides of an issue via the weekly Round-up newsletter, committees like DMET and the Licensing & Publishing white papers and meet-ups.  This included a joint event with our AIMP brothers and sisters and networking events around the country at local chapters and during conferences such as SXSW, CMJ, NARM, and Midem (2012 had our largest-ever presence at MIDEM ever (more than 300 members from 135 companies)

As your extra employee, with pride, your A2IM staff takes dozens of calls from its members every week and in this time of need and continued financial challenges it is the pleasure, no honor, of the A2IM staff to support and represent you all, the greatest privilege of our careers. Your A2IM elected board does the same, meeting monthly, annually setting our priorities on your behalf, always all hands on deck.

Independent music labels are diverse in label sizes with hands-on management, allowing for entrepreneurial speed and based upon genre and geographic diversity provide music with cultural diversity. We thank all of our supporters, especially our associate members who understand the Independent vitality, who increased our access for both marketing & promotion and monetization as we move forward! We thank our publicists at Shore Fire for the fabulous press coverage at all mediums that has increased the A2IM press profile to new heights. We thank you all for your continued financial support of A2IM’s mission, we know it is not easy and we appreciate it.

The A2IM Board and Staff


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