Corey Johnson, Karen Emanuel & Jamie Oborne up for AIM Awards entrepreneur title

Corey Johnson, Karen Emanuel & Jamie Oborne up for AIM Awards entrepreneur title

As the AIM Independent Music Awards prepares to return in-person at the Roundhouse on September 28, new and renamed categories have been revealed for 2022.

Brand new category Music Entrepreneur of the Year will see a host of leading pioneers vying for the title. The shortlist includes Defenders Ent CEO and community activist Corey Johnson (pictured left), who founded The Digital Holdings studio to create a safe space in the UK rap scene; Dirty Hit founder Jamie Oborne who spearheads the label while managing the career of The 1975; and Key Production’s Karen Emanuel (pictured right), who founded Moving The Needle to support women in the UK music business.  

Also joining the list are founder & CEO of Saffron Music Laura Lewis-Paul, who looks to address the gender imbalance in the music tech sector, and BBE Music label owner Peter Adarkwah, who has worked with major DJs and producers.

Newly renamed category Best Boutique Label (FKA Best Small Label) continues the celebration of genre specialists, with Chess Club, Edition Records, Finesse Foreva, Local Action and Rough Bones all in the running. 

In the coveted category of Best Independent Label, Domino Recording Company, Ninja Tune, Rough Trade, Partisan and Soundway Records have made the shortlist.  

Also returning for 2022, PPL will reveal who has been dominating radio and TV, with Arlo Parks (Transgressive Records), D.O.D (Axtone Records), KC Lights (Toolroom Productions), Rathbone Place (Good Company Records) and Wet Leg (Domino Recording Company) in the frame to be named the Most Played New Independent Artist of the last year. 

The Best Creative Campaign Award - also a new category - puts the spotlight on the teams devising inventive ways to connect fans with albums and artists. Fontaines DC’s Skinty Fia (Partisan Records), Maylee Todd’s Maloo (Stones Throw Records), Mitski’s Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans), Obongjayar’s Some Nights I Dream of Doors (September Recordings) and Radiohead’s Kid A Mnesia (XL Recordings) are all in the running for the award. 

A third performance will be unveiled next week, in addition to those already announced - The Libertines and Lethal Bizzle, who is picking up the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award.

Big Live Show & After Party-only tickets are available here. The last few ceremony tickets (individual and tables) are available here.

AIM CEO Paul Pacifico said: "The AIM Independent Music Awards continues to innovate. This year, we are excited to have new categories in Entrepreneur of the Year and Best Creative Campaign that really showcase the dynamism in the community and the continued successes of creative business building in the independent music sector. We look forward to celebrating with everyone at the Roundhouse in-person on the 28th September!" 

Newly announced nominees

Music Entrepreneur Of The Year

Corey Johnson (CEO & Founder of Defenders Ent.)

Jamie Oborne (Founder of Dirty Hit/All On Red Management)

Karen Emanuel (CEO of Key Production)

Laura Lewis-Paul (Founder & CEO of Saffron Music)

Peter Adarkwah (Label Owner of BBE Music)

Best Independent Label

Domino Recording Company

Ninja Tune

Partisan Records

Rough Trade

Soundway Records


Best Boutique Label

Chess Club

Edition Records

Finesse Foreva

Local Action

Rough Bones


PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist

Arlo Parks (Transgressive Records)

D.O.D (Axtone Records)

KC Lights (Toolroom Productions)

Rathbone Place (Good Company Records)

Wet Leg (Domino Recording Company)


Best Creative Campaign

Fontaines DC - Skinty Fia (Partisan Records) 

Maylee Todd - Maloo (Stones Throw Records) 

Mitski - Laurel Hell (Dead Oceans) 

Obongjayar - Some Nights I Dream of Doors (September Recordings) 

Radiohead - Kid A Mnesia (XL Recordings)

Previously announced nominees


UK Independent Breakthrough in association with YouTube Music

Children of Zeus (First Word Records)

Knucks (No Days Off)

Nova Twins (Marshall Records)

Warmduscher (Bella Union)

Wet Leg (Domino Recording Company)


International Breakthrough in association with Deezer

Amyl & the Sniffers (Rough Trade)

Blxst (Red Bull Records)

Kokoroko (Brownswood Recordings)

Mdou Moctar (Matador Records)

Mitski (Dead Oceans)


Best Independent Track in association with Meta

Anz - You Could Be (feat. George Riley) (Ninja Tune)

Dave - Starlight (Neighbourhood Recordings)

FKA twigs - Tears In The Club Feat. The Weeknd (Young Recordings)

Jeshi - Protein feat. Obongjayar (Because Music)

Knucks, SL - Nice & Good (No Days Off)

Nova Twins - Antagonist (Marshall Records)

Overmono - So U Kno (XL Recordings)

Wet Leg - Chaise Longue (Domino Recording Company)

Wu-Lu - Broken Homes (Warp Records)

Yves Tumor - Jackie (Warp Records)


Best Independent EP/Mixtape

FKA twigs - Caprisongs (Young Recordings)

Joy Orbison - Still Slipping Vol.1 (XL Recordings)

Surya Sen - At What Cost? (Skint Records)

Taahliah - Angelica (untitled (recs))

Wesley Joseph - Ultramarine (EevilTwinn)


Best Independent Album in association with Spotify

Boj - Gbagada Express (Moves Recordings)

Children Of Zeus - Balance (First Word Records)

Cleo Sol - Mother (Forever Living Originals)

Dave - We're All Alone In This Together (Neighbourhood Recordings)

Dave Okumu - Knopperz (Transgressive)

Emma-Jean Thackray - Yellow (Movementt)

Mustafa - When Smoke Rises (Young)

Nilüfer Yanya - Painless (ATO Records)

Sault - Nine (Forever Living Originals)

Walt Disco - Unlearning (Lucky Number)


Best [Difficult] Second Album in association with BBC6 Music

Black Country, New Road  - Ants From Up There (Ninja Tune)

Jana Rush - Painful Enlightenment (Planet Mu Records)

Nilüfer Yanya - Painless (ATO Records)

Ross From Friends - Tread (Brainfeeder)

Tirzah - Colourgrade (Domino Recording Company)


Best Independent Remix

ATO - No Caroline remix (Flohio) (MCMXCV)

Erike de Casier - Polite (Mura Masa Remix) (4AD)

Ibeyi - Lavender & Red Roses ft. Jorja Smith (Champion Remix) (XL Recordings)

MF Doom - Gazzillion Ear (Thom Yorke Man on Fire Remix) (Lex Records)

Shygirl - BDE (Kaydy Cain Remix) (Because Music)


One To Watch in association with BBC Introducing

Barry Can't Swim (Technicolour / Ninja Tune) 

Jeshi (Because Music)

Léa Sen (Partisan Records)

Nia Archives (HIJINXX)

Taaliah (untitled (recs))

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