Music Industry Moves: A2IM Names New Board of Directors; Beatport Opens Applications for Diversity + Parity Fund

The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the trade organization representing over 600 independent record labels, has announced its 2023 Board of Directors, its new Executive Committee, and Advisory Board Members.

Leading the Executive Committee is Heather Johnson (Director of Label Operations at FIXT) as Chair, Victor Zaraya (COO of Concord) will serve as Treasurer, and Tony Alexander (President and Managing Director of Made in Memphis Entertainment (MIME)) takes on the position of Secretary. The newly elected Board Members include Tony Alexander (MIME), Nabil Ayers (President of Beggars Group), Hays Rudolph (General Counsel and VP of Business and Legal Affairs at Secretly), and Zena White (COO of Partisan Records).


The organization is also welcoming Advisory Board Members  Kristin Epstein (Operations Director of Screenwave Media), Steve Kline (President/COO of Better Noise Music), Jennifer Newman Sharpe (General Counsel and Head of Business & Legal Affairs of Exceleration Music), Elliott Peters (SVP, Global Business of Empire), Jason Peterson (CEO of Cinq Music/GoDigital Media Group), and Reed Watson (Co-owner of Single Lock Records) will lend their expertise and counsel to the organization.

+ The Beatport Group is opening applications for grants to its second annual Diversity + Parity Fund. The investment initiative is designed to support organizations that focus on underrepresented groups and promote diversity within the music industry. The fund will offer financial support, editorial exposure, and marketing across Beatport’s social media platforms to help organizations increase their impact and reach a wider audience.

“We believe in the power of music to unite people from all backgrounds, and it is our responsibility to ensure that the music industry reflects the diversity of the world we live in,” said Sofia Ilyas, Chief Community Officer of the Beatport Group. “Through the Diversity + Parity Fund, we are committed to accelerating change and creating a more inclusive and equitable music industry for everyone.”

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Last year the company distributed $100,000 to three inspiring organizations – Lady Of The House, Future Female Sounds and #FORTHEMUSIC.

This year the company has increased the fund by 50% to $150,000, establishing two separate kinds of grants: one for smaller organizations ($3,000 to $15,000 USD) and one for larger organizations ($15,001 to $30,000 USD).

The application process will open on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 12pm GMT and close on August 22, 2023 at 12pm GMT. For more details and submission guidelines, please visit:

+ AWAL has appointed Norva Denton as Senior Vice President, Head of Urban Music. Based in AWAL’s Los Angeles office, Denton will join the company’s A&R team, reporting to President Pete Giberga, where he’ll bolster and develop the label’s urban music roster via strategic signings and an artist development-focused mindset.

Giberga says: “We couldn’t be happier to have Norva join us at AWAL. His depth of A&R experience, track record and reach is a very exciting addition for our company and our business in general. His infectious energy on top of that is just a bonus.”

Denton previously served as SVP of A&R at Warner Records where he signed and/or worked closely with such artists as YFN Lucci, Wale, Taykeith, Chika, 2KBABY, and more. He also executive produced Wale’s 2019 Gold-certified album, “Wow…That’s Crazy” and Freddie Gibbs’ 2022 album “$oul $old $eparately.” Prior to Warner, he worked for eight years in artist development at Motown and Island Def Jam.

+ Independent publishing company Prescription Songs and its label counterpart Amigo Records have named Diana Sanders as Senior Vice President, Business Affairs. Prior to joining in November 2022, Diana was a partner at Russ August & Kabat LLP and co-chair of its Music Practice Group.

“We are so lucky as a company to have hired Diana Sanders,” shares Prescription Songs & Amigo Records’ General Manager Ashlee Gibbs. “In the short time she’s been with us, Diana has become an essential part of the executive team and has contributed to the company’s everyday success and growth. Her attention to detail is exceptional and dedication to our roster and staff is unmatched. We sincerely look forward to her future at Prescription!”

+ Sony Music UK announced that Negla Abdela has been promoted to Managing Director at Ministry of Sound. She joined  in 2015 as Social Media Manager before being promoted to Head of Digital in 2018, then to General Manager in 2021. She has been responsible for managing the marketing and digital teams, working across the label’s diverse roster to deliver multi-platinum selling single and album campaigns.

Dipesh Parmar President, Columbia Records said: “I’m delighted for Negla to take on her new role at Ministry of Sound. She is a natural leader and her commitment over the last eight years has helped shape the label’s vision for artist signings and overall development.”

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