The Association of Independent Music (AIM) and Digital Catapult are celebrating the success of their partnership one year after it was announced at AIM’s AGM 2017.


For the past year AIM has been working in partnership with Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre, whose mission is to identify and support emergent technologies that have the potential to transform our landscapes.


The partnership was formed to encourage innovation amongst forward-thinking independent music and tech companies.


Each quarter, ‘Ahead of the Curve’ sessions bring together AIM’s Digital Committee, comprising the Heads of Digital and senior in-house digital marketing specialists from many of the UK’s foremost independent labels, and cutting-edge tech start-ups from the ‘Friend of AIM’ and Digital Catapult communities to create a group of music and tech entrepreneurs in a collaborative space.


By sharing their knowledge and expertise, the participants are able to help shape the interface between music and technology, and improve the next generation of music platforms, applications and technologies.


Each Ahead of the Curve event is held at Digital Catapult’s London headquarters and involves three separate sessions. Firstly, AIM’s Digital Committee meets to discuss the means in which the worlds of music and technological entrepreneurship can be brought together for the benefit of both sectors. This is followed by the ‘Ideas Exchange’, in which tech companies present their services and ideas to the Digital Committee, who then provide them with feedback. Finally, the ‘Music Meets Tech Mixer’ networking session allows participants to connect and continue the exchange of ideas in a personal setting.


Companies who have presented at previous Ideas Exchanges include: Centtrip, Entertainment Intelligence, GigRev, Leaf Music, MQA, MXX, Openstage, I AM POP, Resonate, WARM and Wikimedia UK.


The next Ahead of the Curve session will take place on the 1st November. Companies confirmed to present at the Ideas Exchange include: BBC, Jaxsta and MUSO.


There is mutual value to be gained through the Ahead of the Curve sessions for all participating parties. Independent record labels are provided with a chance to keep abreast of the latest emerging technologies, new companies and opportunities in the digital space. For tech companies, the sessions provide a means to improve their product and get market-ready faster.


Paul Pacifico, CEO, AIM said: “Driving change through collaboration is one of AIM’s guiding principles, and this is reflected by our community. Modern independent music businesses are constantly striving to improve the status quo through digital advances. By bringing together the digital and commercial expertise of AIM Members with cutting edge start-ups, that is exactly what the Ahead of the Curve sessions have helped to facilitate. We are very pleased with what the partnership has achieved in its first year, and are excited to see what developments the next will bring.”


Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: “It’s been great to see the independent music sector getting engaged with all kinds of tech start-ups from those using AI to improve music discovery to those working on augmented reality to improve fan experiences. I have spent many years encouraging technology and music into collaboration so it’s really encouraging that so many companies are using the Ahead of the Curve sessions to understand the potential for advanced digital technologies and innovation.”


John Lubbock, Communications Coordinator, Wikimedia UK said: “It was very helpful to be invited to the Ideas Exchange to speak to label representatives, and I hope that more music companies will approach us to ask for advice and support in ensuring their artists are properly represented on Wikipedia. In particular, we hope that companies will consider releasing photos of their artists on Open Licenses so that we can illustrate their pages, or work with us to host Wikipedia editing workshops where we can use released material to get volunteers to update pages. We hope to continue engaging with AIM to ensure that the music industry knows that we are here to advise them on anything Wikipedia related.”


Jeff Courtney, Digital Marketing, Mute said: “The Ahead of the Curve sessions provide a great chance to keep up with emerging companies and opportunities in the digital space within a networking environment. It’s rare in any industry that you have the opportunity to sit with your counterparts and discuss best practices to further your most important asset – in this case, the artist.”