The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization representing nearly 700 independent music labels, has announced the launch of its Black Independent Music Accelerator, a fellowship grant initiative designed to amplify Black voices in the independent music community.
The initiative will provide a platform for Black-owned businesses in the music industry, delivering greater visibility, networking, and mentorship opportunities for burgeoning business owners. Because financial barriers often pose significant obstacles for minority-owned, independent music businesses, BIMA offers subsidized yearly dues to A2IM, as well as complimentary tickets to annual events such as Indie Week, a four-day international conference and networking event aimed at maximizing the global impact of independent music.
In addition, fellowship benefits include label-to-label mentorship within the A2IM community as well as an opportunity to build relationships with participating streaming platforms. BIMA will feature meetings with the A2IM staff and Board of Directors, as well as A2IM member-led mentorship sessions. Fellows will be invited to legal roundtables, sessions with SoundExchange, meetings with DSPs including Spotify and Amazon Music to discuss available marketing benefits, and additional meetings and programs soon to be announced.
“My artists’ streams have all gone up by more than 100% because of the education and connectivity I am afforded by being a member of A2IM,” said Madeline Nelson, CEO and Founder of Heads Music. “Literally a 100% or more increase on all of them. Programs like Let’s Get Digital and Indie Week made a total difference for my company. The ability to do Q&A with the presenters was wonderful. The level of insight the panelists and speakers shared has proven to be invaluable.”
Nelson will be a part of BIMA’s Advisory Council, which will offer guidance and oversight on the project. Also serving on the council will be Troy Carter, Founder and CEO of Q&A; Fotemah Mba, Head of A&R, General Market at Cinq Music Group; Taryn Brown, Founding Principal at Taryn Brown + Company; Chissy Nkemere, Senior Director of Streaming Marketing at Concord Music Group; along with Marcus Hollinger, SVP of Marketing at Reach Records.
“I am proud to see the BIMA project come to fruition because it shows all of our commitment to uplifting the Black Community,” said Hollinger. “It’s an honor to be on the Advisory Council with like-minded people who are serious about bringing change to our industry.”
BIMA is presented in partnership with many sponsors, including Spotify, Amazon Music, ADA, Made in Memphis Entertainment, Songtrust, Reach Records, Taryn Brown + Company, Tunecore, Materia Collective, AdRev, Symphonic Distribution, Soundexchange, and Vydia.
The 2021 application process for BIMA began on Jan. 19, 2021. To apply or learn more, please visit a2im.org/bima.