UK Music Indie Body AIM Appoints Silvia Montello as New CEO

UK Music Indie Body AIM Appoints Silvia Montello as New CEO

LONDON — Silvia Monte , who was appointed chief executive of The Association for Electronic Music less than a year ago, is leaving the global trade organization to become CEO of AIM (the London-based Association of Independent Music).

Montello takes up the new post on Jan. 31. She will succeed Paul Pacifico ,, who will be leaving AIM to head up the Saudi Music Commission. He will be responsible for developing the music sector in Saudi Arabia and championing it.

Montello, a London-based executive, was elected the first female CEO for the Association for Electronic Music. The New York-headquartered non-profit organization, founded in 2013, represents the interests of over 250 electronic music companies across 25 countries.

Montello’s appointment as CEO of AIM — which represents more than 1,000 U.K. indie labels, artists and music companies, including Beggars Group, Domino, Warp and Ninja Tune — comes on the back of another strong year for independent labels and artists in the United Kingdom. According to labels trade body BPI, independently released music made up 29% of the U.K.’s recorded music market in the first 10 months of 2022, up from 27% for the whole of 2021 — when total recorded music sales reached PS1.3 billion ($1.6 million) in the U.K. — and an increase of 30% from 2017, when independents claimed a 22% share.

Independently released albums that have topped the U.K. albums chart this year include Arctic MonkeysThe Car, Wet Leg‘s self-titled debut, Fontaines D.C.‘s Skinty Fia and rapper Central Cee‘s 23.

“The growth of the indie sector has been fantastic to see and what’s really exciting about it is the rise in grass roots independent artists who are self-releasing and creating their own teams and finding ways of being able to build their own fanbase,” Montello tells Billboard.

Despite the growth, it is still difficult for many DIY and independent artists make a decent living streaming alone, she said. This echos well-publicized discontent among the creator community over low returns on music streams.

Montello, who has been an active member for many years of AIM’s trade body, says she will continue to push for an “equitable” and fair split of streaming revenue. However, she will also be educating and training independent artists about how to monetize their music in the rapidly changing music ecosystem.

“Looking beyond the reliance on major streaming platforms is going be more of an important conversation and trend going forward,” she said. She cited the metaverse, Web3 growth of neighboring right revenues as potential avenues for artists looking to maximize their future earning potential.

Montello says, “We need to always be looking ahead and making sure we’re anticipating where there may have been new opportunities for our member’s but also anticipating where there may a challenge arising and making certain that we’re up-to-date with everything.”

Prior to heading AFEM, Montello held senior executive roles at the U.K. arm of Universal Music Group, where she worked as director of catalog marketing between 2006 and 2010, and BMG, where, according to her LinkedIn profile, she served as group senior vp of recordings operations and integrations from 2014 to 2016. She was subsequently appointed senior vp of operations at the then-Kobalt-owned artist services company AWAL, a post she held from 2017 to 2020.

Montello was also a senior executive at Blokur, a music rights data platform, and Audio Network, an U.K.-based publisher and creator of music for film and television. Since 2011, she has also acted as CEO of Voicebox Consulting, which has worked with music companies and charities that include BMG, PIAS and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Montello is the co-founder and director of #remarQabl. This electronic music label and publishing company champions LGBTQ and women artists. Montello is also a trustee for Help Musicians in the U.K.

Ben Turner , Kurosh Naseri co-founders of the Association for Electronic Music, congratulated Montello for what they called a “landmark occasion” for her and electronic music.

Turner and Nasseri released a statement saying that it was “amazing to see an organization so influential as AIM looking at our sector and actually to AFEM for our next leader.” They thanked Montello “her valuable input to AFEM in her brief time with us” as well as stating that the organization is now looking for a new CEO.

Montello said that she is looking forward to “really getting underneath the skin of AIM” to help the independent music industry flourish, assist artists avoid burnout, and contribute to the “richness of music” coming out of the United Kingdom.

“Because we don’t have that in the independent sector, which is where a lot creativity comes from the grass roots and marginalized groups who have something to say,” she said. “Then all music lovers will miss .”

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