IMPALA’s 10th Anniversary

IMPALA, the Belgium-based, independent music companies’ association that’s shown it doesn’t shirk a fight, celebrated its 10th anniversary at Berlin Music Week Sept. 10.

In that decade it’s helped block the Warner-EMI merger, sealed a collective worldwide deal to license repertoire to Napster, helped the independents get a fair deal within the framework of an iTunes contract, and launched the first class-action suit on behalf of thousands of independent artists and labels against the Sony-BMG merger.

There have been other milestones, including keeping the indies together to secure a fair deal with MTV Europe, launching the IMPALA awards to raise the profile of independent success stories, creating trade group Merlin to represent its members’ commercial interests in the online market, and securing concessions when Universal bought Bertelsmann’s music publishing business.

In Berlin the emphasis was on the future, as IMPALA held its AGM and ran discussion panels on its upcoming priority actions. They’ll include the Action Plan for Finance, a blueprint to refinance investment in talent.

IMPALA also highlighted “leveling the playing field” and reversing the current market share trend as key objectives for the next decade.

“The week has been a great opportunity to look at what we have learned over 10 years and focus on how to get a better deal moving forward – for collective licensing, for online music services, for mechanical licensing, for talent development and for anti-piracy settlements such as Kazaa,” said IMPALA executive chairman Helen Smith, whose organisation has a reputation for driving its agenda and not taking no for an answer.