A2IM went to Washington, D.C.'s U.S. Trade Information Center at the Ronald Reagan Building to pick up the award certificate for the MDCP funding. From left: Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services Maureen Smith, who is presenting the award certificate to A2IM president Rich Bengloff and A2IM operations manager Sheryl Cohen. Recording Academy chief advocacy and industry relations officer Daryl Friedman looks on.

The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) will be the beneficiary of a federal funding grant of $284,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration. The grant comes from the Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) and will be used to expand the A2IM's trade missions and bolster independent music.

"A2IM will receive more than $284,000 to increase the exports of U.S. independent music label recorded music, and estimates these funds will help them assist U.S. independent labels in generating an about $45 million in exports over the next three years," the U.S. Commerce Department said in a statement. "Specifically, the funds will allow A2IM's 'Music Travels' project to increase exports and licensing income of U.S. independent music labels. Project activities include trade missions and participation in trade shows in countries like France and Brazil."

This represents the second round of funding from the government. Last year A2IM was given a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant of about $200,000 from the Federal Small Business Administration and the States of New York and Tennessee. The grant will fund a trade mission to Asia that will launch Sept. 5 with a trip to Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Delegates traveling on the tip will include representatives from ATO, Daptone, Brassland, Entertainment One, Fatboy, PRA Records, Ultra Music and VP Records.

"The Obama Administration has stated that small and medium sized businesses (SME's) that create intellectual property (IP) and jobs that spur exports abroad are an important part of their economic recovery plan to create jobs and improve America's balance of trade and by doing so the overall economy," A2IM said in a statement. "Our strengths and needs conform exactly to the Administration's goals and plans, a perfect match and A2IM has made this export initiative a priority to add to independent music label's domestic success by garnering overseas success as well to ensure overall business economic success."

The latest MDCP funding was arranged in partnership with the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration (ITA) with the support of New York Congressman Jerry Nadler and the Recording Academy as a strategic partner. The MDCP program will expand A2IM's trade missions to visit South American, Europe, and other parts of Asia, including Japan.

The Department of Commerce said said in a statement that the A2IM award will be matched by an $870,000 investment by the organization itself. That includes the organization's overhead as well as whatever members have to put up toward the trips they take. The grants are designed to partially underwrite the trips, which means that A2IM members will pay 50% or less of the cost for each trade mission.

The overseas initiatives are aimed at finding buyers of American musical IP in many areas, including physical and digitally, and through licenses and synchronization, and touring and merchandising.

For example, the trade mission leaving on Wednesday will expose U.S. indie music to more than 200 potential buyers, via three events, filled with business presentations, networking events and one-on-one business meetings.

Moreover, the organization is hoping that some legislation about to be introduced will provide a permanent recurring funding mechanism for the organization's export program. On Sept. 12, Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York will introduce the MUSIC Act (Making U.S. Independent Competitive) to Congress.