U.K.-based singer-songwriter Katie Melua's sophomore album "Piece By Piece" album leads off a new batch of European sales awards from Brussels-based pan-European independent labels body Impala.

"Piece by Piece," released September 2005 on U.K. indie Dramatico, has scored a "multi-platinum" award recognizing shipments across Europe in excess of 3.5 million units. It heads a list of more than 30 awards covering the last six months.

The second highest-shipping album on the list is German rapper Fler's "NDW 2005" (Aggro Berlin), which qualifies as double platinum with shipments of one million units. The only single on the list is British folk-pop duo Nizlopi’s "JCB Song" (FDM Records), which garners a platinum award for 500,000 shipments.

Impala inaugurated the awards late last year (Billboard.biz November 15, 2006) to recognise independent trade shipments, including download sales, across Europe. Labels nominate recordings to Impala, promising to supply the body with independently verifiable physical shipments data on request.

Diamond Award winners, for 250,000 units, were Maximo Park's "A Certain Trigger" (Warp Records) and Tom Waits' "Orphans" (Anti). There were also nine gold awards for 100,000 sales and 23 silvers to mark 30,000 units.

In a statement, Melua stated: "I've always been happy that my music is released on an independent label, and to have Impala recognise our work is truly thrilling."

Alison Wenham, chairman and chief executive of the Association of Independent Music (AIM) added: "The Impala Awards are to recognise, and to thank, the artists and the record companies who produce such great music. They help spread the word across Europe, and promote the grass roots of the indie sector as well as the international stars independent companies regularly produce."