Now in their sixth year, the Libera Awards are a sort of prom for the independent music community: Organized by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and presented by SoundExchange, the event caps its Indie Week conference and acts as a gathering point for the indie community to address its common triumphs and challenges and, of course hang out, celebrate and share a drink or two.
Held at the Best Buy Theater in New York’s Times Square, the Awards were bigger than ever this year, as the densely packed tables on the venue floor showed. It had been a solid year for the indie sector and the big winners reflected that: Angel Olsen’s “My Woman” won Album of the Year and its label, Jagjaguwar, took home Label of the Year (with more than five employees); Radiohead (now on XL Recordings) won two for Best Live Act and the fan-voted Video of the Year for its song “Daydreaming.” Elsewhere, Triple Crown won Best Label (with less than five employees), indie platform Bandcamp won Independent Champion Award and soul siren Sharon Jones, who died last year after a long battle with cancer, posthumously won Sync Usage for a Lincoln MKZ spot.
Unusually for an awards show, performers played two songs. Highlights included Lifetime Achievement winner Ani DiFranco — who’s operated her own Righteous Babe label out of Buffalo, New York for more than 25 years — accompanied by singer Dar Williams; Icon Award winner Nick Lowe (a key player in Stiff Records, the 1970s British label that was arguably the first modern indie); up-and-coming psychedelic soulster Nick Hakim; and veteran rapper Talib Kweli.
Below is a full list of the 2017 Libera Award Winners.
Best Live Act