Tim Westergren, Pandora's CEO and co-founder, will give this year's keynote address at the American Association of Independent Music's (A2IM's) annual Indie Week. The international conference runs June 5-8 at New York's Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center and culminates with the Libera Awards on the final evening.
There may be no better figure suited to keynote Indie Week than Westergren, who as co-founder and current CEO of the world's largest online radio service has been in the mix on a number of issues crucial to the music business. He's negotiated with labels, publishers and artists, testified before congress and taken his company from start-up to publicly traded company.
In the past year, Westergren has returned to CEO and presided over the launch of Pandora's new on-demand streaming service, and watched the music business have its best year in decades with streaming driving double-digit revenue growth. Meanwhile, Congress is again considering a bill calling for terrestrial radio to pay performance royalties.
"I truly believe we're on the cusp of the next golden age of music and there's never been a more exciting time to be an artist," Westergren told Billboard. "Pandora wants to help every independent artist connect with their fans and thrive as a working musician. I look forward to hearing from the community at A2IM and sharing our mutual passion for growing the entire music ecosystem."
"Pandora, A2IM and the independent community have enjoyed a longstanding and successful relationship," said Richard James Burgess, A2IM CEO, in a statement. "Pandora's recent introduction of its on-demand streaming service and its move away from statutory to direct deals makes Tim Westergren's keynote address to the world's largest gathering of independent labels, particularly timely."
Panels and workshops during Indie Week will feature among other indie music business luminaries IMPALA executive chair Helen Smith, WIN CEO, Alison Wenham, musicFIRST executive director Chris Israel and Merlin CEO Charles Caldas.
Closing out the conference on June 8 is A2IM's 6th Annual Libera Awards at Times Square's PlayStation Theater. The evening will honor Indie artists and labels for their achievements in 19 categories, including album of the year and artist of the year, and feature performances by Independent Icon Award honoree Nick Lowe (Yep Roc), Lifetime Achievement Award winner Ani DiFranco (Righteous Babe), Talib Kweli (Javotti Media), Twin Peaks (Grand Jury) and Nick Hakim (ATO Records). Tickets are available to the public.
A2IM's 2017 Indie Week and The Libera Awards are presented by SoundExchange in partnership with ADA, YouTube, Caroline, The Orchard, INgrooves, BuzzAngle Music, CI, Merlin, and PledgeMusic.
The organization's board of directors is as follows: ATO Vice President Stephanie Alexa, Razor & Tie COO Craig Balsam, Redeye Co-Owner Glenn Dicker, INgrooves EVP & General Manager Amy Dietz, Epitaph/Anti General Manager Dave Hansen, Big Machine COO Andrew Kautz, Beggars Group Founder/CEO Martin Mills, Hopeless Records Owner Louis Posen, Dualtone CEO/Co-Founder Scott Robinson, Tommy Boy Owner & CEO Thomas Silverman, and Secretly Label Group Co-Owner Darius Van Arman.