Brussels, 10th September 2013

IMPALA held its annual general meeting this weekend, in the midst of Berlin Music Week, electing 24 members to its Board for the next two years. The AGM was hosted by VUT at its inaugural ‘VUT Indie Days’.

Jonas Sjöström, representing Board members Playground Music Scandinavia, Edel and Swedish association SOM, stepped up to President, having served as Chairman for the past two years. Kees van Weijen, representing Rough Trade Distribution Benelux and Dutch association STOMP, was appointed Chairman, and Geert De Blaere, representing Belgian association BIMA, was re-elected as Treasurer. All three will work alongside Executive Chair Helen Smith.

Thanks were extended to Everlasting Records’ Mark Kitcatt who vacated the position of President to be re-elected as Board member, as well as to Gazell Records, represented by Dag Häggqvist, and CNR Entertainment, represented by Marcus Turner, both of whom are stepping down following several years serving on the IMPALA Board. Patrick Zelnik (Naïve) was re-elected to the Board.

The Board’s priorities will be to complete IMPALA’s agreement with Warner Music Group and Merlin, supporting the independent sector as it adapts to the changing digital landscape and continuing to level the playing field for independent labels in Europe.

Helen Smith, Executive Chair, commented: “The independent sector is entering a new era. The significant market share uplift created under the agreement that IMPALA has concluded with WMG and Merlin is just one example of the changes taking place. With Jonas, Kees and Geert leading the IMPALA Board, our aim is to ensure that the whole sector can capitalise on this and other new opportunities coming our way.”

New President Jonas Sjöström added: “I would like to thank the Board for entrusting me with the President’s role. My first job will be to set up the process to take advantage of the divestments WMG has agreed to deliver to the independent sector. The process will of course be implemented by an external expert rather than IMPALA and Merlin, and it is an absolute priority for the process to be as efficient, open and fair as possible.”

New Chairman Kees Van Weijen commented: “I would like to thank the IMPALA Board for its trust in electing me as Chairman. In these changing and challenging times for the independent record industry, I see it as my duty, together with my colleagues on the Board, to build on the strong foundation laid by my predecessors. One of my key tasks will be to steer the Board debates so we can work out how to fight for the 4000 independent record labels represented in Europe by IMPALA to be able to fully compete in the new music market dominated by the three major labels.”

Geert de Blaere, re-elected Treasurer: “I would like to thank the IMPALA Board for my re-election as Treasurer of the organisation. The future adoption by the European Commission of the loan guarantee scheme should open a whole new set of financial options for independent record labels all over Europe. Making this work in practice will be one of my challenges as Treasurer. I want to see real growth within the sector.”

The full list of IMPALA members elected to the Board is (in alphabetical order):

!K7 (represented by Horst Weidenmüller)

8Ball Music (represented by Robin Van Beek)

AIM (represented by Alison Wenham)

Beggars Group (represented by Martin Mills)

BIMA (represented by Geert de Blaere)

Cooking Vinyl (represented by Martin Goldschmidt)

Cosmos Music Group (represented by Fredrik Ekander)

Edel (represented by Jonas Sjöström)

Everlasting Records (represented by Mark Kitcatt)

Epitaph (represented by Roger Dorresteijn)

Fono (represented by Larry Bringsjord)

IndieCo (represented by Tapio Korjus)

Kobalt Music (represented by Johan Ekelund)

Naïve (represented by Patrick Zelnik)

[PIAS] Music Group (represented by Michel Lambot)

Playground Music Scandinavia (represented by Jonas Sjöström)

PMI (represented by Francesca Trainini)

Rough Trade Benelux (represented by Kees Van Weijen)

SOM (represented by Jonas Sjöström)

STOMP (represented by Kees Van Weijen)

UFI (represented by Noemi Planas)

UPFI (represented by Jérôme Roger)

VUT (represented by Christof Ellinghaus)

Wagram (represented by Stephan Bourdoiseau)


IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent independent music companies. 99% of Europe’s music companies are SMEs. Known as the “independents”, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists – they produce more than 80% of all new releases. SMEs also produce 80% of Europe’s jobs. Their potential is enormous but is hampered by complex barriers to trade and severe market access problems.

IMPALA has its own awards schemes to help promote cultural diversity and new talent and highlight the artistic contribution of independent music. IMPALA award winning artists include The xx, Efterklang, Adele, Manu Chao, Radiohead, Agnes Obel, Caro Emerald and Sigur Ros.

More press information

Didier Gosset, IMPALA – Tel: +32 2 503 31 38 –

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Rue des Deux Eglises 37-39, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

+32 2 503 31 38