Ever since Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” won Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammy Awards, independent labels have seen their star rise on “Music’s Biggest Night,” and that looks set to continue at the 2020 ceremony, where Bon Iver, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Yola, Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard, Elvis Costello and others have gotten big nods. The indie label collective A2IM has run the numbers and calculated that 44% of the nominations belong to indie imprints.
In the “Big Four” categories, Bon Iver — pictured above after winning a pair of trophies in 2012 — logged an Album of the Year nomination for “I,I,” and a Record of the Year nod for the album track “Hey, Ma,” while Tanya Tucker logged a Song of the Year nom for “Bring My Flowers Now” from her Brandi Carlile-helmed album. And in Best New Artist, ATO Records — which alone clocked seven nominations — earned a nod for Black Pumas, while Yola did Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound label proud in the same category.
In genre categories, Yorke, Howard, Costello, Bonobo, Flume, Candlemass, Anderson .Paak, PJ Morton, Bad Bunny, I’m With Her, Calexico and Iron & Wine and many others all got big looks.
Richard James Burgess, president and CEO of U.S. indie label collective A2IM, said, “In recent years, we’ve seen an ever-growing representation of independent artists in the lineup of nominees, and the 62nd Grammy Awards is no exception. This increasingly diverse selection of independent talent represents a cross-section of the American music industry and our country and culture as a whole. As A2IM continues its mission of working towards greater diversity as well as visibility, and market share for independent artists, we appreciate the support of the voting members of the Recording Academy.”
Portia Sabin, recently elected president of the Music Business Association (Music Biz) and former chief of the long-running indie label Kill Rock Stars, spoke not just for indies but for all artists in her statement: “The Music Business Association would like to extend congratulations to all of the artists nominated for the 62nd Grammy Awards. We believe that having a diverse and inclusive talent pool is the future of the music industry, so it’s exciting to note the increase in diversity in artists and genres that received nominations. As the Grammys is often responsible not only for spurring sales and streams of songs performed at the ceremony but also for introducing viewers to new artists, Music Biz is always pleased to see a wide range of artists showcased among the nominees.”
See the full list of nominees here.