Hilversum, The Netherlands, 8th November 2018

[Initially published by STOMP, the Dutch association of Independent Music Companies]

STOMP is delighted to give its STOMP Independent of the Year Award  to Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA – the Independent Music Companies Association – in recognition of her exceptional efforts to represent the independent music sector and help it grow. The award was handed out to her by STOMP’s chairman Kees van Weijen in person yesterday during STOMP’s Annual General Meeting.

Upon presenting Helen Smith with the award, the STOMP board noted in particular that “Helen is a driving force in the discussions on a new Copyright Directive in Brussels” and recognised her as “a strong captain for Europe’s indies”. The STOMP board trusts that she will go on to become “an even greater inspiration for young professionals in the music industry in the coming years” and further stressed: “She is one of the true examples of successful and powerful women in the music industry and we hope she will continue to claim that role.”

 Originally from Scotland, Helen has been leading IMPALA’s work in Brussels for over 15 years, helping put thousands of independent music companies and artists on Europe’s map by leveraging the collective strength of the sector. In terms of milestones, IMPALA has an impressive track record, from Europe’s first ever class action court case on a merger to its tough stance on digital platforms who don’t play ball, through to its numerous action plans and awards schemes for independent music.

Kees van Weijen, chairman of STOMP, as well as president of IMPALA, said: “Helen has been relentlessly carrying the torch for the independent sector with passion for over 15 years, making the voice of indies heard loud and clear on a wide range of political and commercial issues. Her achievements with IMPALA are remarkable and having her as the recipient of this year’s award was a no-brainer for the STOMP Board. A recurring motto of Helen is: ‘All artists are born equal and our job is to make sure that has meaning in the real world.’ Her work is testament to that objective, and this is why she is receiving our award today.” 

Helen Smith commented: “I am honoured to receive this award, which I see as recognition of the efforts of the whole IMPALA office and of course our members’ collective effort across Europe over the past decades. Every day we work hard to make sure that the voice of independents is heard loud and clear. Independents account for 80% of all new releases, they are world leaders in terms of discovering new music and artists and this should be reflected in market dynamics and political discussions.”

STOMP’s original statement can be found here.

The full jury report can be found here


For more information about STOMP and the STOMP Independent of the Year Award, please reach out to STOMP’s project coordinator Michel Peek through or per mobile phone +3164277108


IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent European 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 and account for 80% of the sector’s jobs (for more information, see the features of independents). IMPALA’s mission is to grow the independent music sector, return more value to artists, promote cultural diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access and modernise perceptions of the music sector. See the organisation’s key achievements in IMPALA’s milestones.

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

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

+32 2 503 31 38