The Australian Independent Record Labels Assn. (AIR) will hold its inaugural AIR Charts Awards on Nov. 29 in Sydney. The debut event, details for which were announced today (Oct. 11), will have only f

The Australian Independent Record Labels Assn. (AIR) will hold its inaugural AIR Charts Awards on Nov. 29 in Sydney. The debut event, details for which were announced today (Oct. 11), will have only four categories -- best performing album, best performing single/EP, artist of the year and most outstanding new artist.

The nominations are selected by AIR's board. Artists are only eligible if they are released through an Australian-owned independent record label and also distributed through an Australian-owned distribution company.

AIR is negotiating with free-to-air and pay-TV broadcasters to cover the event, confirms Stuart Watters, AIR's Brisbane-based CEO.

"The awards are timed to coincide with the run-up to Christmas sales," Watters tells Billboard.biz. "A number of Australian indie acts have made an impact on our charts in the past 12 months without any support from the major multinational labels. We want to bring them to the attention of retailers, the media, the public and to the corporate sponsors who have shown interest in getting involved in the indie section."

In March, AIR signed a thre-year sponsorship deal with V Energy sports drinks for its weekly chart. The charts cover albums and singles released on indie labels with indie distribution, plus indie labels with major label distribution. The charts also focus on blues & roots, dance/electronica and country.

According to Watters, the charts reach a readership of 250,000, through newspapers, music magazines, college radio and Web sites.

AIR plans to reveal a change to the chart when it announces the final nominees for the awards on Oct. 19 at the Big Sound music conference in Brisbane. AIR estimates the independent sector to be worth about 25% of the Australian recorded music sector's annual revenue.

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