Backbeat: A2IM's Libera Awards Bring Out Indie Royalty With Seymour Stein, Martin Mills, Tom Silverman, More

(Photo Credit: Kyle Reinford) 

(L-R) Tommy Boy Records' Tommy Silverman, Warner Music Group's Seymour Stein, and Martin Mills of Beggars Group mingle at the Libera Music Awards at the Highline Ballroom.

From the podium at the second annual Libera Awards Thursday night, Portia Sabin of Kill Rock Stars toasted a room full of DIY music entrepreneurs who unwound with free booze and finger foods after three days of power meetings, panels and presentations during A2IM’s Indie Week.

(Photo Credit: Kyle Reinford) 
Host Portia Sabin of Kill Rock Stars.
Host Portia Sabin of Kill Rock Stars. (Photo Credit: Kyle Reinford) 

“We’re the risk takers of the music industry, we put our hearts and souls on the line every day,” she said. “And we don’t do it for the accolades— but it’s nice when they come.”

From Barsuk to Bandzoogle, representatives from 400 independent labels, distributors, publishers, digital platforms and more gathered at the Highline Ballroom on Manhattan’s West Side to celebrate the independent music industry and catch up with old friends, many of whom flew in from around the country and abroad. John Ross Bowie, comedian and actor on CBS’s hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” hosted the proceedings and took the opportunity to (playfully) rib “the nation’s music snobs.”

Glassnote Records' Daniel Glass won the Lightbulb Award, which celebrates the most innovative and creative marketing campaign by an Independent label or artist. (Photo Credit: Kyle Reinford)

“I think next year we can liven this up by taking a few cues from The Tony Awards,” Bowie said at one point. “After all, we both give awards out to people who no one else has ever heard of.”

In his speech after accepting A2IM’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy Records and the New Music Seminar summed up the indie community’s ethos with a little more magnanimity.

(Photo Credit: Kyle Reinford)
Members of the music industry mingle, drink, and snack at the Libera Music Awards at the Highline Ballroom.

Members of the music industry schmooze, booze, and snack at the Libera Music Awards at the Highline Ballroom. (Photo Credit: Kyle Reinford)