×

Sub Pop Records Cofounder Jonathan Poneman to Receive A2IM Lifetime Achievement Award

Sub Pop Records cofounder Jonathan Poneman will be honored by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) with a Lifetime Achievement award at the organization’s Libera Awards show next month. Over the past 30 years, Sub Pop has become one of the most vital independent labels in the world. The 2019 Libera Awards (presented by SoundExchange) will take place on June 20 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.

Poneman began his musical career as a volunteer/DJ at a college radio station in Seattle before taking on a brief (and admittedly self-imposed) gig as the manager for Soundgarden. In 1987, he partnered with Bruce Pavitt to found Sub Pop Records. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the label became synonymous with the “grunge” sound created by so many of its early artists — including Soundgarden, Mudhoney and of course Nirvana, whose debut “Bleach” remains Sub Pop’s best-selling album — but has expanded into multiple genres since Pavitt retired in the late 1990s. Successes over the past 20 years include the Shins, the Postal Service, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Flight of the Concords, Beach House, Father John Misty, Weyes Blood and even a hip-hop act, Shabazz Palaces.

Sub Pop has weathered many financial ups and downs over the years — it once printed T-shirts that read, “What part of ‘We have no money’ don’t you understand?” — yet it recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and remains one of the world’s most vital independent labels, with over 50 million global record sales, over $2 million donated to many nonprofit organizations, and even a Sub Pop retail store in the Sea-Tac International Airport terminal in Seattle.

“I want to thank A21M and Libera Awards for this great honor,” said Poneman. “It’s kind of like having a bar mitzvah without having to memorize anything.”

“Jonathan Poneman was critical in the evolution of the company, the establishment of grunge, and the development of the Seattle sound. From Sub Pop’s beginnings as a fledgling, Seattle-based independent record label through its growth into one of the most influential recorded music companies of all time, what Jonathan did at Sub Pop changed the direction of rock music, and his relentless commitment to authenticity re-affirmed the necessity of independent labels,” said A2IM President and CEO, Dr. Richard James Burgess.

The Libera Awards serve as the crowning event for Indie Week, A2IM’s annual four-day conference.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • RihannaFenty Beauty By Rihanna Launch, Madrid,

    Rihanna's Diamond Ball Will Honor Activist Shaun King, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley

    Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and civil rights activist Shaun King will receive this year’s Diamond Ball Award at Rihanna’s fifth annual Diamond Ball, which will also feature performances from Pharrell and DJ Khaled. “I can’t imagine a better night than this year’s Clara Lionel Foundation event with Seth Meyers, Pharrell and DJ Khaled,” said [...]

  • Taylor Swift The Ally Coalition's 5th

    Taylor Swift Says She Plans to Re-Record Big Machine Oldies

    When Taylor Swift let her feelings be known about her former label, Big Machine, ending up in the hands of Scooter Braun, speculation about what little recourse she had in the situation ran rampant: What if she simply re-recorded material from those first six studio albums? Although that was considered a long shot for any [...]

  • 50 Cent Power S6 Premiere

    50 Cent, Snoop Dogg & Trey Songz 'Power' Up New York City for Massive Season 6 Premiere

    “Power” is entering its final season, but you would never know if you walked by Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on Tuesday night. Starz pulled out all the stops for its ratings powerhouse “Power,” throwing a massive premiere event, complete with a full-length concert at Madison Square Garden from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and a [...]

  • Diane Warren'Late Night' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Songs of Hope to Honor Diane Warren, Marc Shaiman, Boi-1da, More at 15th Annual Event

    Cancer research and treatment center City of Hope today announced the initial lineup of presenters and honorees who will celebrate the song and songwriter at its 15th annual Songs of Hope event. Among the music and entertainment industry VIPs in attendance will be veteran executive and producer Clive Davis, producer Boi-1da (Drake, Kendrick Lamar), award-winning [...]

  • Warner Records Names Claudia Butzky Senior

    Warner Records Names Claudia Butzky Senior VP of Brand Partnerships

    Warner Records has named Claudia Butzky senior vice president of brand partnerships, strategic marketing & commercial sync licensing, the company announced today. Based in Los Angeles, Butzky will report to Tom Corson, Co-Chairman & COO, Warner Records, and essentially will fill the role vacated by former EVP Lori Feldman, who left the company earlier this [...]

  • Big Hit Entertainment, Home to BTS,

    Big Hit Entertainment, Home to BTS, Posts Blockbuster Results for First Half of 2019

    South Korea’s Big Hit Entertainment, home to BTS, revealed its revenues for the first half of 2019 at an event called “Big Hit Corporate Briefing With the Community” held in Seoul today. The company posted record revenues of $166.3 million — just $12 million short of its revenues for all of 2018, according to analysis [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content