The Blog

Nominees Revealed for 2014 AIM Independent Music Awards

Last night saw the announcement of the nominees for this year's AIM Independent Music Awards, and as I watched our presenters reveal the labels and artists that feature in this year's nominees list, I felt great pride that I get to work with the people responsible for some of the best music in the world.

2014 has been a great year for independent music so far. Having battled through a difficult 10 years at the start of the millennium, indie labels have found their footing and are now thriving. To date this year, independent labels account for 26.9% of the albums market in the UK, their highest market share in a very long time. And that's without an Adele album to boost the figures! (And no, before you ask, I don't know when the new Adele album will be coming out and whether it will be called 23/24/25 etc).

So why are indie labels doing so well right now? Is it because they're digital-savvy businesses that have adapted (and continue to adapt) to the changing market? Is it because they can operate on a shoestring budget instead of throwing un-recoupable million pound advances at artists? Is it because they are run by people motivated by passion rather than dictated to by a boardroom of profit-hungry directors?

Well yes, it's all of these things, but mostly it's that THEY MAKE BLOODY GOOD MUSIC.

Last night saw the announcement of the nominees for this year's AIM Independent Music Awards, and as I watched our presenters reveal the labels and artists that feature in this year's nominees list, I felt great pride that I get to work with the people responsible for some of the best music in the world. Some of these nominees will feature strongly in the critics' end of year lists, the Mercury Prize shortlist and other platforms for quality music, others you will only find here. That's because the AIM Awards does an important job in shining a light on the huge range of amazing music produced by the UK's independent labels, much of which is overlooked by the mainstream media.

(Steve Goodman, aka producer and artist Kode9, of Hyperdub Records will pick up the first Innovator Award. Credit - Maximilian Montgomery)

This year we have introduced a new award category, the Innovator Award, to celebrate the achievements of an artist, label or businessperson pushing the boundaries of independent music. The judging panel, made up of radio producers, music journalists, DJs and bloggers specialising in many different areas of music, had a tough job in selecting just one recipient from a sector so well populated with passionate people carving their own paths. Ultimately they unanimously agreed that the first recipient of this award should be Steve Goodman (aka the artist and producer Kode9) of pioneering electronic label Hyperdub Records, which celebrates it's 10th anniversary this year. With its origins in dubstep, Hyperdub's present day roster is a mind-boggling collection of uniquely talented artists from myriad musical genres.

Despite the glut of music industry awards shows (let's be honest, hardly a week goes by without one), I think, I hope, that the AIM Awards stands out from the crowd, much like the labels and artists it celebrates. We have managed to create an awards show that simultaneously celebrates the brightest stars in the independent music universe (the Adeles, Arctic Monkeys' and London Grammars of this world) AND the unique lesser-known talents that make our sector so exciting.

(2013 Outstanding Contribution to Music recipient Billy Bragg performs at the awards. Credit - James Arnold)

I want to take this opportunity to encourage every music fan to check out this year's AIM Awards nominees list. To not only read the list, but also go and listen to some of the artists you might not have heard before, watch the stunning videos nominated for Video of the Year, and read up on the significance of our Pioneer and Innovator Award recipients. You might not agree with all the nominees, but you will discover something genuinely brilliant.

(For more about the AIM Awards, visit the AIM website, follow the AIM Awards on Twitter, like us on Facebook or check out my personal Twitter account.)


INDEPENDENT BREAKTHROUGH OF THE YEAR (in association with 7digital)

Courtney Barnett

Future Islands

London Grammar


Young Fathers

BEST SMALL LABEL (in association with Disc Manufacturing Services)



Marshall Teller Records

National Anthem

Sonic Cathedral

BEST LIVE ACT (in association with Songkick)


Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip

Five Finger Death Punch

London Grammar

Sophie Ellis-Bextor

BEST 'DIFFICULT' SECOND ALBUM (in association with XFM)

Anna Calvi - One Breath

Ben Watt - Hendra

Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe

The Pretty Reckless - Going to Hell

Withered Hand - New Gods



Barn on the Farm


In The Woods


HARDEST WORKING BAND OR ARTIST (in association with Jack Daniel's)



Gabby Young & Other Animals



INDEPENDENT TRACK OF THE YEAR (in association with Spotify)

Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?

FKA Twigs - Water Me

Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting On You)

London Grammar - Strong

Sampha - Too Much

Twin Atlantic - Heart and Soul

INDEPENDENT VIDEO OF THE YEAR (in association with Vevo)

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - You Will See Me

FKA Twigs - Water Me

James - Moving On

Liars - Mess On A Mission

Royal Canoe - Birthday

INDIE CHAMPION AWARD (in association with C.I)

Alex Baker, Kerrang! Radio

Camilla Pia, BBC 6Music

Charles Caldas, Merlin

John Doran, The Quietus

Tim Palmer & Clemence Godard, Bird on the Wire

SPECIAL CATALOGUE RELEASE OF THE YEAR (in association with Amazon Music)

Cabaret Voltaire - Collected Works 1983 - 1985

Nightmares on Wax - N.O.W.Is The Time

Small Faces - Here Comes The Nice - Immediate Years Box Set 1967 - 1969

The Twilight Sad: Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters (Expanded Edition)

Various - Purple Snow - Forecasting The Minneapolis Sound

INDEPENDENT ALBUM OF THE YEAR (in association with MixRadio)

Actress - Ghettoville

Arctic Monkeys - AM

East India Youth - Total Strife Forever

Fred V & Grafix - Recognise

Gruff Rhys - American Interior

Kate Tempest - Everybody Down

London Grammar - If You Wait

Mogwai - Rave Tapes

Tune-Yards - Nikki Nack

Within Temptation - Hydra

INDEPENDENT LABEL OF THE YEAR (in association with Believe Digital)

Because Music


Fearless Records

Hospital Records

Ninja Tune

Secretly Group

INNOVATOR AWARD: Steve Goodman (aka Kode9), Hyperdub Records

PIONEER AWARD (in association with eMusic): Martin Mills, Beggars Group


OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC (in association with eMusic): recipient TBA