Charles Caldas Named Indie Champion & Allen Kovac Takes Innovator Award at AIM Awards



AJ Tracey, Calpurnia, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Gerry Cinnamon and IDLES shortlisted for ‘Best Live Act’

Final tables remaining; limited tickets to the live show and after-party available here:

With under a month until the AIM Independent Music Awards kicks off on 3rd September at Camden’s Roundhouse, the Association of Independent Music has unveiled the recipients of its coveted industry accolades: the Indie Champion Award and Innovator Award (in association with Amazon Music).

Charles Caldas, CEO of global digital rights agency for the independent label sector Merlin, will take home the Indie Champion award in recognition of his work for Merlin’s members worldwide. Caldas built Merlin from an idea into the globally recognised entity it is today, striking landmark deals with the world’s leading digital music platforms, including Spotify, YouTube Music, Deezer, NetEase, Alibaba, Tencent and Facebook. During his 12 years as CEO, Merlin’s membership has grown to include over 850 members in 63 countries; embodying more than 20,000 independent record labels and distributors, who command in excess of 12% of the digital recorded music market. Previous winners have included Warp co-founder Steve Beckett, XL Recordings’ Richard Russell and NTS founder Femi Adeyemi.

On being named Indie Champion, Caldas said “Working on behalf of so many members of AIM, alongside their global Merlin member compatriots, has been a privilege. To have that work recognised in this way by an organisation that has been such a trailblazer in advocating for UK independents and such an important and valued supporter of Merlin since its launch, is humbling, and a true honour.”

Meanwhile, Eleven Seven Music and 10th Street Entertainment CEO Allen Kovac will take home the Innovator award, presented in association with Amazon Music. Kovac has led the way as a truly forward-thinking manager, working with the likes of seven-time platinum-certified Mötley Crüe, Duran Duran, Meat Loaf and Blondie. An early advocate of Nielsen SoundScan, he helped revolutionise the way record sales were counted. While in the 90s, he met with Apple to discuss a digital jukebox, which went on to become the iPod.

Kovac also became an early supporter of streaming, helping Meat Loaf’s ‘I’d Do Anything For Love’ become one of the first songs to be streamed on the internet, hosting the first online video press conference with Duran Duran, and later championing Spotify’s all-you-can-eat streaming model. He currently acts as an advisor for music analytics firm BuzzAngle Music. A fierce defender of artist rights and levelling the playing field for Independent labels, he joins previous winners including neo-pop star SOPHIE and grime label and collective Boy Better Know as AIM’s 2019 Innovator.

Commenting on his award, Kovac said “Technology and innovation have the same impact as hearing great music for the first time, and asking technology experts how their products work has created new opportunities for my artists. This award belongs to the experts who have given me new adventures that led to new endeavours, that I’ve brought to our independent community. The main challenge isn’t technology, but clinging on to our old culture.”

Nominees for the publicly voted ‘Best Live Act’ award in association with Songkick can finally be revealed after much anticipation. Following a massive 35,000 votes, nominees include AJ Tracey, Calpurnia, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Gerry Cinnamon and IDLES. The winner — the act with the most amount of votes — will be announced on the night of the awards.

AIM Award-winners Let’s Eat Grandma will be performing a DJ set at the official afterparty alongside disco, soul, funk and hip-hop UK institution BBE Music and other AIM members. With Johnny Marr taking the headline spot as well as a performance from electro-pop sensation Georgia, the 2019 AIM Independent music Awards is ready for its biggest year to date, with many more surprises to come.

Event Details

The ceremony will begin at 3pm, with the live show and after-party running from 8:15pm-2am.

Tickets to the ceremony, which include dinner, drinks receptions, and access to the exclusive live gig and after-party, can be purchased here:

Tickets to the live gig and after-party only are available here:


UK Independent Breakthrough (in association with YouTube Music)
Black Midi
Ezra Collective
Gerry Cinnamon
Jade Bird

International Breakthrough
Afro B
Jade Bird
Maribou State
Nilüfer Yanya

Best Independent Track (in association with Facebook)
Dave, “Funky Friday (ft. Fredo)”
FKA Twigs, “Cellophane”
Fontaines D.C., “Boys In The Better Land”
Georgia, “About Work The Dancefloor”
JARV IS, “Must I Evolve”
Jai Paul, “Do You Love Her Now”
Holly Herndon, “Eternal”
Little Simz, “Selfish (ft. Celo Sol)”
Sharon Van Etten, “Seventeen”
Four Tet, “Teenage Birdsong”

Best Independent Album (in association with Spotify)
Better Oblivion Community Center, “Better Oblivion Community Center”
Christine And The Queens, “Chris”
Dave, “Psychodrama”
Fontaines D.C., “Dogrel”
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, “End of Suffering”
Jade Bird, “Jade Bird”
Jordan Rakei, “Origin”
Little Simz, “GREY Area”
Snapped Ankles, “Stunning Luxury”
Swindle, “No More Normal”

Best [Difficult] Second Album
Erland Cooper, “Sule Skerry”
IDLES, “Joy as an Act of Resistance.”
Julia Jacklin, “Crushing”
Maribou State, “Kingdoms In Colour”
SOAK, “Grim Town”

One To Watch (in association with BBC Music Introducing)
Arlo Parks
Barney Artist

Best Small Label
Fuzz Club Records
Killing Moon
Local Action
Scruff of the Neck
Speedy Wunderground

Best Creative Packaging (in association with MCPS)
Hand-picked and curated in collaboration with The Rolling Stones, Confessin’ The Blues compilation
Murlo, “Dolos”
IDLES, “Joy as an Act of Resistance”
Various Artists, Sick Music 2019 compilation
Keith Richards, “Talk Is Cheap”

Best Independent Video (in association with Vevo)
Christine and the Queens, “5 Dollars”
Hot Chip, “Hungry Child”
John Grant, “He’s Got His Mother’s Hips”
Caleb Steph, “Black Boy”
FKA Twigs, “Cellophane”

Best Independent Label (in association with [PIAS])
Brownswood Recordings
Nuclear Blast
Partisan Records
Rough Trade

PPL Award For Most Played New Independent Artist
AJ Tracey
Cosmo Sheldrake
Freya Ridings
Guru Randhawa
Jorja Smith

Best Live Act (in association with Songkick)
AJ Tracey
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
Gerry Cinnamon

Indie Champion
Awarded to Charles Caldas

Innovator Award (in association with Amazon Music)
Awarded to Allen Kovac

Outstanding Contribution to Music (in association with Merlin)
Awarded to Debbie Harry

Pioneer Award (in association with Bucks Music Group)
Awarded to Johnny Marr

Source AIM

August 14, 2019 8:35am ET by Pressparty  

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