Independent labels and distributors in the United States are taking exploratory steps to found a new trade organization, styled along the lines of the U.K.'s Assn. of Independent Music (AIM).

Independent labels and distributors in the United States are taking exploratory steps to found a new trade organization, styled along the lines of the U.K.'s Assn. of Independent Music (AIM). Alison Wenham, chairman of AIM, has been serving as an advisor for the proposed group, while Beggars Group U.S. CEO Lesley Bleakley is serving as the U.S. contact.

A preliminary meeting to determine interest in forming the trade group was held during the South By Southwest Music Conference earlier this month in Austin.

Bleakley says further details will be hammered out at a meeting for labels and distributors to be held in late April in New York; an L.A. meeting will be held some time after that. "We're communicating with a lot of labels and getting good feedback," Bleakley says.

Interested companies can contact Bleakley at lesleybleakley@beggars.com.

The 32-year-old U.S. indie trade group, the Assn. for Independent Music (AFIM), has been dogged in recent years by eroding membership and a narrowing focus on niche labels. For the last two years, AFIM has combined its annual convention with that of NARM.

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