Ivy League responds to Indie Awards heckle: “We’re 100 percent independently owned”

Ivy League Records has responded to claims it’s not sufficiently “independent” following an incident at the Independent Music Awards in Melbourne on Tuesday night.

As Lanie Lane walked up to the podium to accept her award for Best Independent Blues and Roots Album, a heckler in the crowd yelled out, “Not independent”, when her label Ivy League was mentioned. Although distributed by a major (Universal), the label falls within the Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR’s) criteria, namely a company that is 100 percent Australian, owns the master rights for recorded music and “exploits” it for commercial gain.

Speaking to The Herald Sun ’s “Rock City” column today, Ivy League’s managing director Chris Maund said that while the issue of independency isn’t “black and white”, the label – a subsidiary of the Mushroom Group – is 100 percent independently owned and self-funded.

“Having been on the board of AIR, I know that AIR has given the issue great consideration,” he told The Herald Sun. “The Mushroom Group labels (including Ivy League) are 100 percent independently owned and, importantly, funded, without contribution from a major label.

“It is true that a major distributes our physical stock, however … we have our own independently funded sales staff and we independently control/distribute all our digital rights, which, for recent releases constitutes over 50 percent of our album and 100 percent of single sales. Weighing all that up, we proudly call ourselves an independent label and are proud to be a long standing member of AIR.”

Following the early “controversy”, Melbourne rapper 360 said he wasn’t comfortable accepting his award for Best Independent Hip Hop Album for Falling & Flying given EMI’s financial stake in his label Soulmate. “As an artist on a label that receives funding from a major label, I don’t feel right to be standing here at the Independent Music Awards, but the rules say my label qualifies so here I am,” he told the crowd. “Artists like the Jezabels work their arses off gigging all year round and working around the clock to get where they are today. They don’t have the big machine helping them along like I do.”

Other Independent Music Award winners included Chet Faker, DZ Deathrays, Royal Headache and The Jezabels. Full report here.