A2IM will honor the distinguished songwriter, performer and producer Nick Lowe and the artist, label owner, and activist Ani DiFranco at its 6th Annual Libera Awards gala on Thurs., June 8 in NYC. Lowe will receive A2IM’s Independent Icon Award and DiFranco will be honored with its Lifetime Achievement Award. For the second year running, Ted Leo will host the ceremony and concert, which will be held at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square (performers will be announced at a later date). The Libera Awards is the fast-growing and largest international awards ceremony that recognizes and celebrates the independent label and artist community. It is conceived and produced by A2IM, the organization that represents more than 400 independent music labels.
“A2IM is proud to host the 2017 Libera Awards, the biggest awards ceremony in the independent music world,” A2IM CEO Richard James Burgess says. “We started in 2012 with just a few hundred in attendance at a nightclub, and now have grown into a gala dinner and performance event with anticipated attendance of more than 1000 from the worldwide independent community at the Sony Playstation Theater in Times Square. We look forward to welcoming independent label owners, executives, their artists, and supporting businesses from around the world to meet, mingle and celebrate at the 2017 Libera Awards.”
According to the New York Times, Nick Lowe spent much of the 1970s “busy not fitting into three successive movements: pub rock, punk and new wave.” As the inaugural artist and house producer at Stiff Records, he helped create the blueprint for the modern indie label, and helmed historic early recordings for The Damned, Elvis Costello, and The Pretenders, among others. More recently his releases on Yep Roc Records since 2001 have heralded a bona fide second coming. “Few artists get better with age. Nick Lowe is the exception,” says NPR.
Grammy-winner and feminist icon Ani DiFranco began her career as a proponent of the artist-run label, creating her own Righteous Babe Records in 1990. Since then she has released over twenty studio albums, collaborated and shared the stage with legends ranging from Bob Dylan to Chuck D to Prince, and supported a broad range of social causes including racial justice, reproductive rights, gender equality, environmental issues and prison reform. She will release her first album since 2014 ‘Binary’ in May, and a memoir later this year.
Ted Leo, the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist known for his outsized on-stage personality says: “I’m honored to be asked back to host the Libera Awards for a second year. The world of independent labels is still where the best stuff happens, and I’m glad to still be a part of that world.”
The Libera Awards have grown exponentially since launching in 2012, with attendance tripling during that time –last year it attracted over 820 attendees, and now features a full slate of performances by the independent community’s hottest artists. It is the marquee event and capstone of A2IM’s Indie Week music conference, which takes place June 5-8. In addition to the hundreds of U.S. independent label professionals who are in town for Indie Week and the Libera Awards, this celebration of the independent label community has become an international music business destination. For example, this year, a number of international trade organizations will have a presence at the events; attendees are expected from over 20 countries outside the U.S.; and Germany’s Reeperbahn Festival will return for its second New York Edition to coincide with Indie Week and serve as the evening entertainment during the week.
At a time when independent music accounts for more than 35% of total US music consumption and an even larger share of the streaming economy and the cultural landscape, the prestigious Libera Awards toasts the year’s biggest success stories as voted upon by their peers. A2IM hands out 19 awards ranging from Breakthrough Artist and Best Live Act to individual genre categories, industry honors for sync usage, and creative packaging.
Groundbreaking labels ATO, Sub Pop, and Daptone Records all won Liberas in 2016, as did chart toppers Alabama Shakes (ATO) and Run the Jewels (Mass Appeal), along with breakout artists Courtney Barnett (Mom & Pop) and Kamasi Washington (Brainfeeder). The night featured performances by Mac DeMarco (Captured Tracks), Naughty By Nature (Tommy Boy), Nosaj Thing (Innovative Leisure), and Torres (Partisan). Previous winners have included Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Bon Iver, Sturgill Simpson, and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.
Indie Week, which takes place this year June 5-8 at The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center on New York City’s Lower East Side, provides members of the independent label community a place to share ideas and discover ways to find more opportunities for success in the rapidly changing modern recorded music industry.
Tickets for Indie Week and the Libera Awards are available for the first time to both members and non-members. For tickets and pricing structure, please visit a2im.org/event/a2im-2017-libera-awards.