Launched in 1999, the Association of Independent Music (AIM) aims at protecting and promoting the companies and artists from the indie music sector. Its chairman and CEO Alison Wenham was present at Midem 2014, and answered our questions regarding the future of the music industry. Where are indies headed in a world where the digital economy, streaming and big data rule? What can entities like AIM do to defend their rights?
Wenham started by pointing out the sector’s very good results of last year: “The independents, which I represent, have had a very good year in 2013: in the UK, we had 25% of the market for the first time in 20 years; in the US, they passed 35% of the market, which is astonishing achievement.”
The next step, according to her, consists in globalising the network of indie professionals: “We have created WIN: Worldwide Independent Network“, a global forum launched in 2006. “We’ve also created MERLIN, a Music Entertainment Rights Licensing Independent Network”, she added, ” a business that will pass 100 million dollars this year, and is a one-stop licensing gateway for our digital rights.”
Regarding streaming services, Wenham isn’t worried: she explained that “With the emergence of international brands like Spotify, Deezer, and many other streaming, download, and social experiential type of music marketing services, this is ideal for independent companies: often, they work in niche repertoire!”
According to her, it’s just a matter of time before smaller companies start making profit out of streaming: “There’s no debate about whether streaming is going to be with us; there is a debate about how long it will take for the scale to reach critical mass, to make sense.”
The revenue of streaming services is indeed “coming in as the second or third largest revenue stream now for the larger companies,” affirms Wenham, who concludes “The future is bright, the future is indie”. In short, things are looking up!