By the time you read this, I may be dead.

Okay, not dead. But I might have had a crusty bread roll thrown at me in anger–or even a tumbler of Sambuca ‘accidentally’ spilled down my shirt.

This was mine and Intent Media‘s first ever Music Week Awards. Our aim was to make the event a bit less stuffy, a mite more funny and a whole bunch snappier.

But if we were hoping to please the whole room, to gift each and every wine-guzzling table with silverware and glee, an extraordinary year for the market was never going to let us.

I’ll admit it: the domination of 2012’s event by the independent sector has probably left a few major label bonces feeling extra sore today–and may even have inspired some rude words to be pinged towards my email inbox overnight. (If you didn’t gently deliver them to me at the after-party first. If so, morning!)

This was an awards ceremony that reflected Adele‘s magic like none other. PIAS, Purple PR and, obviously, XL and Jonathan Dickins were all befittingly saluted for their role in the industry story of the decade. Richard Russell deserved his Strat for a special recognition to the market regardless–but it’s no fluke Ms. Adkins was the first to congratulate him on screen.

Yet that wasn’t the end of the indie triumphs; PIAS, Proper, Bella Union, Kobalt, Sound It Out–the non-PLC prizes just kept on coming throughout the evening.

A freak landslide? Nah. The manifestation of a shifting, thrilling modern market in which anyone–large or small–can grab the ascendancy? You betcha.

These were, after all, winners that you, the trade, decided. We promised the hundreds of Music Week readers who voted that their ballot would remain secret, and that guarantee remains. But I can say that our indie victors received ticks in boxes from senior executives across major labels, heavyweight publishers, dominant media houses, live giants and many more besides.

It was heartening to observe, proving that behind the heat of competition; behind the jovial backbiting and the rabid sales envy, people in this business know a hard-fought success when they see one–and they know when it deserves to be recognised.

It wasn’t all indie mania, of course. It was hardly a miserable night for the publishing arms of EMI and Universal, while Warner Music picked up two prizes. And, for the record, there were very few landslides–notably, the Artist Marketing Campaign, Promotions Team, Catalogue Marketing Campaign, PR Campaign and Live Music Venue categories were very close-run contests.

By now, we’ve all heard the apocryphal tale of the major label boss who says he doesn’t mind the indies having Adele this year so long as the next market phenomenon is all his team’s doing.

Until 2013, then. It should be a cracker.

But before all that–does anyone know how to get a tricky Sambuca stain out?

Tim Ingham,

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  1. By What’s an indie? | Indie Arts RI on November 3, 2014 at 8:57 am

    […] Ownership by a major does not disqualify a label from consideration. As two examples, Tommy Boy is owned by Warner Bros., and PolyGram is the parent company of Island’s independent labels (i.e. 4th & B’way, Mango). But, the titles from such labels that appear on these charts were sold through indie channels. […]

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