The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) was founded in 2005 with a mission to represent the interests of indie music labels in the United States. Through music advocacy, community and education, it seeks to promote growth and opportunities for those in the industry. As of last year, it is also making a deliberate attempt to diversify the independent music industry by bringing greater visibility to Black artists. It’s doing so through the Black Independent Music Accelerator (BIMA) program.
“For independent music to remain vital, it has to reflect and honor a multitude of voices,” the association expressed in a press release shared with EBONY. “The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization that represents nearly 700 independent music labels, believes diversity is at the center of indie music’s restlessly innovative spirit.”
A2IM is starting off the new year by launching its second year of BIMA, the fellowship initiative designed to amplify Black voices in the independent music community. Outside of the accelerator, the association also offers subsidized dues for minority-owned, independent music businesses, keeping in mind that financial barriers often present obstacles for these entrepreneurs. They can also receive complimentary tickets for annual events that serve as networking opportunities aimed at making a global impact.
In 2019, The Raine Group, a U.S.-based merchant bank that advises and invests in the music business, suggested that independent artists would generate more than $2 billion from recorded music in 2020, with numbers to continue on an upward trend. It’s A2IM’s goal to ensure that these numbers are reflective of a diverse pool of creators—Black entrepreneurs included.
“Black entrepreneurs have been the backbone of the music industry since the beginning of time,” says Erinn Knight, President of Build Your Own Dreams and 2021 BIMA Fellow. “Allowing us to access the resources of counterparts, now opens doors to innumerable possibilities for creators that look, think, and dream like us.”