Indies Focus On Warner Alliance

The indie labels need to focus on getting the best out of their relationship with Warner Music Group, according to their annual general meeting held at Berlin Music Week Sept. 6. 

This new or rather slowly growing friendship hangs on the deal that IMPALA, the European indie music company’s association, cut with Warner when the label was trying to get its purchase of Parlophone past European regulators.

WMG was reportedly willing to let go up to one-third of Parlophone’s assets – or the equivalent in Warner assets – to the indie sector, provided IMPALA took a positive approach to the deal.

IMPALA is historically wary of any merger or takeover between the majors, sometimes claiming it decreases competition, but the group seems to have developed an understanding with WMG. In 2007 IMPALA had agreed to a similar deal with Warner, when the American major was making its last aborted to bid to buy EMI.

Swedish indie label champion Jonas Sjöström, who steps up to president of IMPALA, Rough Trade Distribution Benelux exec Kees van Weejen (now chairman), and new treasurer Geert De Blaere, representing Belgian association BIMA, will be the new board members execs helping IMPALA executive chair Helen Smith develop the Warner relationship.

The new 24-member IMPALA board elected Sept. 6 can be found at