The Black Independent Music Accelerator (BIMA) is a fellowship initiative created by The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) with the intention of fighting for social and economic justice within the music industry by amplifying independent, Black-owned music businesses.
Since the organization’s inception in 2005, A2IM’s primary remit has been to level the playing field between major labels and their independent counterparts. In a rightful extension of that initial mission, BIMA aims to serve as a platform for Black-owned independent music companies to grow their business, expand their network, and gain access to invaluable educational resources from some of the industry’s thought leaders.
Placement within the program will include (but by no means be limited to): Fully subsidized membership dues for one year, complimentary tickets for numerous A2IM flagship events, scheduled meetings with DSPs, mentorship from A2IM’s board of directors, and much more.
All participating BIMA fellows receive fully subsidized dues to A2IM for their first year of membership with the organization. This is a monetary value ranging from $1,000 – $2,500 annually, pending on your company type.
All participating BIMA fellows receive up to three, complimentary badges per company to attend A2IM events throughout the year. This includes A2IM’s flagship event Indie Week, the largest international independent music conference in the world, as well as Pan-Am Indie Summit, Let’s Get Digital, and SynchUp.
The BIMA program hosts a slew of private events throughout the year, including workshops, seminars, and keynote presentations put on by members of A2IM. Highlights from this past year include sessions with all of the major DSPs, a fundraising AMA, professional development courses, keynote presentations from esteemed music industry executives, music publishing courses, marketing workshops, and more.
Within this network, fellows are given an open forum (as well as structured networking time) to share experiences, ask questions, seek vetted recommendations, and generally learn from one another’s practices. Fellows have access to a private Slack channel of current BIMA fellows and past alumni, as well as quarterly check-ins with the A2IM staff and the Advisory Council.
Connecting industry veterans with aspiring music executives, A2IM’s mentorship program furthers our mission of community building and educating the independent sector. Fellows are paired with senior level A2IM members from record labels and music companies across the country with the goal of growing fellows’ networks and fostering personal and professional development between independent music executives across all career stages.
A passionate multi-instrumentalist, “Leven” is a musical factotum that specializes in audio production/engineering, songwriting, performance, sound design and Creative directing.
Lenora Helm Hammonds is a artist-educator with a passion for all things Jazz. She intersects her love for jazz and penchant for crafting communities of practice to empower artist-entrepreneurs to take control of their art and work.
Realising his High School bedroom beats dreams, Lance Matthews founded Sending You Creative Entertainment (SYCE) initially as a space for artists to hone their craft, by providing a weekly platform to perform live.
Any U.S.-based, majority Black-owned independent music business is eligible and encouraged to apply. By Independent, we mean that more than 50% of your recordings are independently-owned; by majority Black-owned, we mean that 50% or more of your company is Black-owned.
A2IM launched its inaugural BIMA fellowship class in the Spring of 2021 as a means of working towards social and economic justice within the independent music community and acting as an agent for progressive change within the industry as a whole. This includes diversifying A2IM’s member base, striving towards proper representation of Black music executives, and providing equitable access to educational and professional development resources.
A2IM is home to a community of more than 700 leading-edge music businesses. A2IM’s Label Member community currently includes nearly 600 independently-owned record labels, from some of the biggest independents in the world to up-and-coming labels just getting operations off the ground. In addition, through its Associate Member program, A2IM comprises a community of over 150 music service providers, including major DSPs, distributors, music tech startups, and many more.