Pan-European independent labels body Impala has named the first honorees under its new certification scheme, which recognizes indies' trade shipments across the continent.

Pan-European independent labels body Impala has named the first honorees under its new certification scheme, which recognizes indies' trade shipments across the continent.

Until now, the IFPI Platinum Europe Awards, launched in 1996, have been the only continent-wide certification of trade shipments; they recognize album shipments in excess of 1 million units.

The Impala Awards' categories are: silver-30,000; gold-100,000; diamond-250,000; platinum-500,000. The same levels will apply to singles and albums, and include download sales. Independent labels from European and international territories nominate recordings to Impala, promising to supply the body with independently verifiable physical shipments data on request.

The first batch of awards to be published, covering the period June-September, includes more than 100 albums. Leading the pack are two U.K. indie acts on Domino Records, the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, with their respective debut albums " Whatever People Say I am, I'm Not" (2006) and "Franz Ferdinand (2004). Both are double platinum, with shipments of 1 million units each.

Meanwhile, Franz Ferdinand's sophomore set "You Could Have It So Much Better," Slipknot's Roadrunner set "Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verse)" and the Offspring's "Smash" (Epitaph) were each certified double platinum.

Diamond status was awarded to the Raconteurs's "Broken Boy Soldiers" (XL), Charlotte Gainsbourg's "05:55" (Because Music), Corneille's "Les Marchands de Rêves" (Wagram Music France), José González' "Veneer" (Imperial Recordings/Peacefrog Records), Nickelback's "All the Right Reasons" (Roadrunner), Pink Martini's "Sympathique" and "Hang On Little Tomato" Naïve and Thom Yorke's "The Eraser" (XL).

"The independents are key to discovering new talent," says Impala chairman Martin Mills, who claims the Impala awards "are simply a way of acknowledging that and celebrating real diversity in action."

London-based Mills, who is also chairman of Beggars Group, adds: "Our artists have unique talent and for the first time we have a tool that really helps us to increase pan-European awareness at different stages in their career and bring them to a much wider audience."

The Impala awards will be published quarterly.

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