NEW YORK (Top40 Charts/ Shore Fire Media) - Though the news may be filled with stories of the challenges facing the music business, perhaps the biggest untold story is that independent labels are currently experiencing some of their greatest successes in recent history.
They're hitting new market share high marks, especially in the digital realm; are increasingly being sought out by the consumer on the wealth of new platforms for hearing music, including webcasting, satellite radio, and downloads; and are breaking records for awards and accolades including a very successful year at the 2009 Grammy's.
The take-away is clear: when music consumers are presented with real choice, indies rise. And the proof is in the numbers, with increased market share for indie labels now reaching almost a third of all music sales.
DID YOU KNOW THAT...
* Independent labels accounted for 32% of aggregate album sales in 2008, up almost 1.5% from 2007.
* Independent artists won 56 awards at this year's Grammys, up from 36 last year. That marks over 50% of all prizes given out.
* Independent labels, as a group, are the largest owners of master recordings in the industry - over 80% of America's music is under independent ownership. These labels aren't just diverse in genre, but in size and business model, ranging from single-artist-owned labels to imprints with decades of history and catalog. What makes a label "an indie" is that its master recordings are not owned by one of the major labels.
* That overwhelming majority of master recordings is testament to the diversity of genres covered by independent labels. The result is remarkable music that crosses boundaries, and may account for why indies notched the best album Grammy in an incredible 24 different genres in 2009.
*On top internet broadcasting platforms, where consumer choice reigns, indies thrive. Overall, independent music makes up approximately 40% of all music played at non-traditional web radio and at industry leading webcaster Pandora, over half of the music users play is independent.
*Consumer choice reigns at digital retailers as well, and the numbers reflect it, with indie market share at digital rising to 38%. Retailers are on board as well, in fact two-thirds of A2IM members have direct deals with iTunes, the industry-leading music retailer.
* In short - when traditional gatekeepers and obstacles to reaching fans are removed, indies thrive.
Launched on July 4th, 2005 to represent the needs of the independent music community, this year A2IM will celebrate its fourth anniversary as the sector's pre-eminent advocacy group and trade organization. Currently, the organization counts over 225 music label members and 100 associate members (companies who don't own masters but rely upon, provide services for, or otherwise support Independent music labels).
A2IM is a not-for-profit trade organization serving the Independent music community as a unified voice representing a sector that comprises over 30% of the music industry's market share in the United States (and 38% of SoundScan digital sales). The organization represents the Independents' interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. A2IM is headquartered in New York City.
The organization's board of directors is comprised of the following: Concord Music Group President Glen Barros; The Beggars Group CEO Lesley Bleakley; Wind-up Records COO Jim Cooperman; Razor & Tie Executive Vice President Dan Hoffman; Alligator Records Founder & President Bruce Iglauer; Roadrunner Records Executive Vice President Douglas Keogh; Bar/None owner Glenn Morrow; Lookout Records co-owner Molly Neuman; Kill Rock Stars President Portia Sabin; Tommy Boy Records Entertainment founder and CEO Tom Silverman; Amaechi Uzoigwe A2IM Board Chair and co-founder Definitive Jux.
For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.A2IM.org