Fourteen independent labels that report to A2IM won across 19 categories. Among them were best new artist Megan Thee Stallion, who is signed with 300 Entertainment; ATO Records' Brittany Howard, who won best rock song for "Stay High"; and best progressive R&B album recipient Thundercat, who won for It Is What It Is, released on Ninja Tune's Brainfeeder.
The percentage of independent Grammy winners is up from the past three years. At last year's awards, 38% of winners were independent, and at the 2019 ceremony just 36.9% of winners were independent. At the 2018 ceremony, 42.8% of winners were independent artists.
“Thanks to the democratizing and diversifying effects of unlimited shelf space, reduced friction to listening to new, unfamiliar, and even obscure artists, the loosening of restrictive advertising driven genres, and the diminishing dominance of huge marketing spends brought about by algorithmic discovery, each year, independent music has grown to make up an increasingly larger portion of the global music market," says A2IM president and CEO, Richard James Burgess.
It's a silver lining following a particularly rough year for independent artists, 30% of whom reported being more worried about finances as a result of the pandemic, according to a September 2020 study from MiDIA Research. As Burgess says: "A2IM is delighted to see this increased accessibility to and familiarity with independent recording artists reflected in this year’s Grammy voters choices."