The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the nonprofit trade organization that represents nearly 700 independent music labels, has launched a fellowship grant initiative designed to benefit Black voices in the indie music community.
Announced today, the Black Independent Music Accelerator (BIMA) will offer A2IM membership to Black-owned independent labels while also providing networking and mentorship opportunities to their owners. BIMA will additionally subsidize annual dues to A2IM for participating labels as well as provide complimentary tickets to events such as Indie Week, A2IM’s annual conference and networking event.
BIMA participants will also be provided label-to-label mentorship opportunities within the A2IM community and receive invites to meetings with A2IM staff and its board of directors, legal roundtables, sessions with SoundExchange and meetings with streaming platforms such as Spotify and Amazon Music to discuss marketing benefits, among other things.
“The world of independent music is beautifully diverse, and A2IM is thrilled to reflect that diversity amongst its membership as it continues to find new ways to support and empower independents,” said A2IM CEO Richard James Burgess in a statement. “We’re excited work with our sponsors, advisors, and Black-owned businesses across the independent music industry to launch this powerful initiative.”
Added Q&A founder and CEO Troy Carter, who is serving on BIMA’s advisory council, “Inclusivity in independent music has been a mission near to my heart. So when Richard asked me to participate as an advisor, I didn’t give it a second thought. I’m looking forward to supporting A2IM’s mission to cultivate the next generation of black label owners.”
Also on the BIMA advisory council, which will be on hand to offer guidance and oversight to the program, are Heads Music founder & CEO Madeline Nelson; Cinq Music Group head of A&R, general market Fotemah Mba; Taryn Brown + Company founding principal Taryn Brown; Concord Music Group senior director of streaming marketing Chissy Nkemere; and Reach Records senior vp of marketing Marcus Hollinger.
“The importance of this initiative can’t be overstated,” said Nelson. “BIMA is essential to the Independent music community. A2IM is consistently fearless in their quest for authentic diversity and inclusion, in this space. So, it is not a surprise that this initiative is happening at A2IM and I am extremely proud to be a member of the Advisory Council.”
BIMA sponsors include Spotify, Amazon Music, ADA, Made in Memphis Entertainment, Songtrust, Reach Records, Taryn Brown + Company, Tunecore, Materia Collective, AdRev, Symphonic Distribution, Soundexchange and Vydia.
Label owners can apply for BIMA starting today at a2im.org/bima.