Martin Mills, founder and CEO of the Beggars Group, has been awarded the 2011 IMPALA Outstanding Contribution Award, in recognition of his achievements in the independent sector.
Mills, who set-up Beggars Banquet in 1974, initially as a London chain of record shop before transforming the business into a standalone record label three years later, has been at the helm of the company since its birth and has overseen its thirty-year expansion into one of the biggest independent music groups in Europe.
Labels housed the Beggars Group banner currently include XL Recordings, Rough Trade, Matador and 4AD. Vampire Weekend, Tyler, The Creator, Radiohead, The Strokes, The Big Pink, Bon Iver, The National, Cat Power, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks and Warpaint are among the long list of artists who have released records on Beggars Group labels in recent years. Another Beggars act, Adele, who is signed to XL Recordings, scored the highest-selling album of last year with her sophomore set with "21."
In addition to running Beggars Group, Mills has served on the council of U.K. labels trade body the BPI and played key roles in setting up AIM (The Association of Independent Music) and IMPALA, of which he remains a board member.
Also awarded an IMPALA Outstanding Contribution Award is the "Label Love" initiative  that was set-up following the destruction of the SonyDADC distribution centre in Enfield, during last summer's London riots. Following the warehouse fire, which saw an estimated 25 million discs destroyed, including the entire stocks of many PIAS-distributed independent labels, the "Label Love" initiative was started by music fans as way to support affected labels and the wider independent community.
"With Martin's success this year there could only be one label winner, but the spontaneity and generosity of the "Label Love" initiative meant we had to break the rules and have two awards this year," said Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA, in a statement.
Last year's inaugural winner of the IMPALA Outstanding Contribution Award was the late Mario Pacheco, founder of Spain's Nuevos Medios label. The title is awarded to individuals or initiatives in recognition of promoting independent music in Europe.