Flying Lotus, FKA Twigs, Vince Clarke & More Win at 2020 AIM Awards

Electronic artist Flying Lotus, singer and songwriter FKA twigs, Anglo-Indian jazz drummer Sarathy Korwar and synth-pop master Vince Clarke were among the big winners as the indie community assembled Wednesday night (Aug. 12) for the 10th annual AIM Independent Music Awards, held virtually for the first time.

Flying Lotus snagged best independent track (for “More” featuring Anderson .Paak) and Korwar’s More Arriving took out best independent album.

“It feels like a true blessing to be able to receive an award and to be acknowledged in these times, when they make us feel like our work isn’t essential and what we do is just, whatever,” enthused Flying Lotus (real name Steven Ellison). “So, thank you for the reminder that what we do is very important.”

Also on the night, FKA twigs bagged best [difficult] second album for her critically-lauded Magdalene, which peaked at No. 21 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart last November, and Moses Boyd scored U.K. independent breakthrough honors.

One of the show-stealing moments came when Erasure reunited on stage for a premiere of their new single “Nerves of Steel,” a fitting moment as songwriter and keyboardist Vince Clarke collected the special recognition award, a new category. Clarke was feted for his work in Erasure, Yazoo and Hall of Famers Depeche Mode and “his exceptional contribution to the synth-pop field,” organizers say.

In the industry award categories, Helen Smith, executive chairman of independent music companies’ lobby organization IMPALA, was named as “Indie Champion,” and late drumming great Tony Allen was posthumously honored with the outstanding contribution to music award.

Allen’s career was celebrated by a performance featuring Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, and a separate tribute curated by Ezra Collective’s Femi Koleoso.

A pioneering afrobeat drummer, Allen died April 30 in Paris aged 79, leaving behind a considerable legacy.

The Nigerian artist was well known for his work with Fela Kuti and, later, with Albarn’s project The Good, The Bad & The Queen, French electronic duo Air and others.

At the time of his passing, Brian Eno praised Allen as “perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived,” while Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers declared him as “one of the greatest drummers to ever walk this earth.”

As part of the celebration of Allen’s life and work, Koleoso curated a special medley gathering the likes of U.K. jazz standouts Nubya Garcia, Mutale Chashi, Tobi Adenaike, Elias Atkinson, Richie Seivwright, Deschanel Gordon and Junior Alli.

Established in Britain back in 2011, the AIM Independent Music Awards celebrates the brightest, the best and the innovators of the independent music scene.

AIM Independent Music Awards Winners & Nominees:

UK Independent Breakthrough In Association With YouTube Music

Digga D
Fontaines D.C.
Moses Boyd (Winner)

Best Creative Packaging In Association With Signature Brew

Digga D – Double Tap Diaries (Winner)
Hania Rani – ‘Esja’ Sheet Music Book
Motörhead – 1979
Sophie – Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides Non-Stop Remix Album
Moses Boyd – Dark Matter LP (Dinked Edition)

Special Recognition Award In Association With Fuga – Vince Clarke (Winner)

Indie Champion In Association With MCPS – Helen Smith (Winner)

Best Small Label In Association With Key Production

Bedroom Indie
Edition Records
Femme Culture
Speedy Wunderground (Winner)

Best Independent Remix In Association With Designscene

Lafawndah – Tourist X Nídia Rework (Winner)
King Of The Rollers – You Got Me (S.P.Y. Remix)
Makaya Mccraven – Gil Scott-Heron – We’re New Again
Apparat – Outlier (Solomun Remix)
Marie Davidson – Work It (Soulwax Remix)

One To Watch In Association With Bbc Music Introducing

Arlo Parks (Winner)
Blanco White
Greentea Peng
Lavida Loca

Best Independent Video In Association With Vevo

Black Pumas – Colors
Bombay Bicycle Club – Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)
Flying Lotus – Black Balloons Reprise (Ft. Denzel Curry)
Greentea Peng – Mr. Sun (Miss Da Sun)
The Howl & The Hum – The Only Boy Racer Left On The Island (Winner)
Zebra Katz – Moor

Innovator Award In Association With Amazon Music – AJ Tracey (Winner)

Best [Difficult] Second Album In Association With Proper Music

Floating Points – Crush
Fka twigs – Magdalene (Winner)
Joe Armon Jones – Turn To Clear View
Life – A Picture Of Good Health
Moses Sumney – Græ

International Breakthrough In Association With Deezer

Floating Points
Hania Rani
Yaeji (Winner)

Pioneer Award In Association With Evoke Studios – Little Simz (Winner)

PPL Award For Most Played New Independent Artist

Freya Ridings (Winner)
Fontaines D.C.
Jade Bird

Best Independent Album In Association With Spotify

Brooke Bentham – Everyday Nothing
Everything Is Recorded – Friday Forever
Kidjo Ojua – The Mixtape
Kim Gordon – No Home Record
Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter
Moses Boyd – Dark Matter
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
The Ninth Wave – Infancy
Phoenix Da Icefire & Husky Brown – Panacea
Sarathy Korwar – More Arriving (Winner)

Best Live Act In Association With Creative Technology

Ayanna Witter-Johnson
Five Finger Death Punch (Winner)
Red Rum Club
The Reytons
The Darkness

Best Independent Track In Association With Facebook

AJ Tracey – Dinner Guest (Ft. Mostack)
Digga D – No Diet
Flying Lotus – More (Ft. Anderson .Paak) (Winner)
King Krule – Alone, Omen 3
Lauv – Modern Loneliness
Sorry – Right Round The Clock
Squid – Sludge
Sudan Archives – Confessions
Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela – We’ve Landed
Yves Tumor – Gospel For A New Century

Best Independent Label In Association With [PIAS]

Brownswood Recordings
Good Soldier
Jazz Re:Refreshed (Winner)
Stones Throw
Young Turks

Outstanding Contribution To Music In Association With Merlin – Tony Allen (Winner)

Strictly Discs in Wisconsin, in a Pandemic: ‘We’re Only About 10% Down for the Year’

In October 1988, Angie Roloff and her husband Ron opened Strictly Discs in Madison, Wisconsin, after Ron left a career in the biomedical research field to pursue his love of music full time. Nearly 31 years later, the couple made the difficult decision to shutter in-store operations due to COVID-19, roughly a week before Governor Tony Evers forced a mandatory shutdown of all non-essential businesses. Now that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has overturned Evers’ stay-at-home order — ruling it “unlawful” and “unenforceable” — the Roloffs and their employees have reopened Strictly Discs in a limited capacity.

As part of Billboard’s efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, we will be speaking with Roloff regularly` to chronicle her experience throughout the crisis. (Read the last installment here and see the full series here.)

Has anything significant changed for you since we last spoke?

As far as how [the coronavirus is] trending in our area, not particularly, except that things in our county have been looking favorable. And I think we’re all just kind of eyeing the return of the student population and what the University [of Wisconsin-Madison] does as having probably the next big impact on how our local community fares.

I heard about that. I think like 30-something percent of classes will be in person and the rest online, is that right?

As much online as I think is feasible, and smaller lectures in person in large rooms. But there’ll be a large influx of the student population in the next two to three weeks. That’s the age group where we’ve seen the greatest increase in cases, so we’re hopeful that that doesn’t continue when we have more of that population here.

I guess on the one hand, it’s probably good for business to have those college students back in town, and on the other, you obviously want people to be safe. It’s sort of a double edged sword.

It’s times like this where it makes you feel old and very removed from that population, but not so far removed that you don’t remember feeling invincible. I can relate to how some of those students want to continue with their social life and stay out and about. So I know that’s going to be a factor. Thankfully at this point, the bars are still closed in Madison, so that may be beneficial. But I still think there’ll be plenty of gatherings of college age students in town.

Anything new on the Record Store Day front?

We’re still moving forward with our “RSD To-Go” model. We’re going to roll that out with all of the details for our customers this week, because they’re inquiring about how we’re going to handle it and how we’re going to keep everybody safe. We’re still gonna do the curbside service for everybody on those titles. And once we’ve put those things in people’s hands and there aren’t people waiting, then we would reopen the store for regular Saturday business.

It’s being spread out over three days this year, right? So I imagine that’s good for you.

I think it’s a good decision to spread it out. I just want to make sure that we can still manage the traffic flow that day. The first date, the August date [Aug. 29], with just the way the releases fell, is the biggest date. There are 200 releases for the first drop date, and then just about 100 for the second two [Sept. 26 and Oct. 24]. So we will have a little baptism by fire to see how this goes.

We’re past the midway point of 2020. How would you say business has been in the first half of the year compared with 2019?

We closed on the 16th of March, so we lost the second half of that month. But we maintained a lot more business while we were closed than we feared. That was a really positive side effect of being closed, is just the amount of support that we got during that time. So when you take the Record Store Day piece out — which is always hard, because it varies from year to year — we’re probably only about 10% down for the year. So we’ll see what happens with these Record Store Day drop dates. I know that they’ve got a strong slate of releases planned for Black Friday and, you know, fingers crossed that things continue in the direction that we are right now and we can finish the year strong.

Is there anything else you wanted to mention?

It’s kind of a topic on a broader, higher level right now, but one thing that is really important for independent record stores is the U.S. Postal Service. Some of the discussions about the future of that organization are really important to us as a group for our survival, and they seem to be kind of in a political quagmire that we don’t normally associate with the mail.

[Note: The U.S. Postal Service, which had been in financial trouble even before the pandemic, is facing an existential threat due to COVID-19. Recent efforts by the USPS to receive billions in aid from Congress has been thwarted by President Donald Trump, who is pushing to privatize the agency.]

How would that affect your business?

If something were to drastically change with the organization, it would be debilitating. We ship anywhere between 60 and 100 packages a day, and most of those are media mail. There is no alternative for an affordable way to move records within this country, so it would be it would be devastating.


Colbie Caillat Leaves Her Band Gone West: ‘This Was Not an Easy Decision’

Colbie Caillat is officially leaving her band Gone West only after two years.

The country-pop singer announced the news on Instagram Wednesday (Aug. 12), which comes just four months after she and ex-fiancé/Gone West bandmate Justin Young ended their 10-year relationship. Married couple Jason Reeves and Nelly Joy make up the remaining two members of the country quartet.

“After a lot of thought during this time, Justin and I have decided to leave Gone West. Creative partnerships, especially with friends, are both rewarding and challenging at times, and though this was not an easy decision, we know ending the band was the right one,” Caillat began writing in the posted note. “Justin and I are best friends, and will continue to make music together forever.”

Gone West released the group’s debut album Canyon on June 12, which the “Bubbly” singer expressed gratitude for in her exit announcement. “Canyons is an album we truly love and cherish, every song holds so much truth in the experiences we all go through in life,” she penned.

Caillat and Young performed a few Canyon tracks during their Billboard Live At-Home charity concert together on April 16 while quarantined in their Nashville home. But Gone West couldn’t perform the new album on their scheduled summer and fall tour dates, which were canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It remains unclear whether the 35-year-old artist will pivot back to a solo career, considering the last line of her letter reads, “Here’s to whatever adventure comes next….” On her own, Caillat has won two Grammy awards for album of the year with Fearless and best pop collaboration with vocals with the Jason Mraz-assisted hit single “Lucky.” Additionally, she’s achieved four million cumulative album sales and eight multi-platinum records to date.

Read Caillat’s entire exit note below.

After a lot of thought during this time, Justin and I have decided to leave Gone West. Creative partnerships, especially with friends, are both rewarding and challenging at times, and though this was not an easy decision, we know ending the band was the right one. Justin and I are best friends and will continue to make music together forever. 

We’re so proud of the music the four of us created together over the past three years. Canyons is an album we truly love and cherish, every song holds so much truth in the experiences we all go through in life.

I want to thank all of my fans and all of Gone Wests fans for supporting our music, coming to our shows, and everything in-between. I also want to thank Country radio, JR & SiriusXM, Triple Tigers and our entire teams hard work and creativity, and for believing in us and helping our music get out into the world. Thank you all. 

Here’s to whatever adventure comes next…

Here Are 7 Musicians You Can Find on OnlyFans

Cardi B announced Tuesday (Aug. 11) that she joined the hot content subscription service OnlyFans, but she’s not the only musician on there connecting to her fans.

Billboard compiled a list of musicians OnlyFans confirmed to us are using their website.

Cardi B

For fans wanting to check out behind-the-scenes footage of her “WAP” clip with Megan Thee Stallion, they’ll need to pay $4.99 a month to access the Invasion of Privacy rapper’s page because that’s where they’ll find it. And for those thinking she’ll be posting any X-rated adult content, think again. “NO I WONT BE SHOWING P—Y , TITTIES AND A– .LINK IN BIO…It will be a place for only me and my fans,” the artist confirmed on Instagram.

Swae Lee

The Rae Sremmurd member joined the site back in June only to promote his latest single “Reality Check,” according to his only OnlyFans post. Unlike most accounts that profit off of subscription fees, fans can access his for free. But the 27-year-old rapper-singer has been debating starting an OnlyFans account since March, according to his Twitter.

Rico Nasty

The “Aquí Yo Mando” rapper has also been using the platform, which costs $6 a month to access, to promote her solo music following her latest Kali Uchis collaboration. According to Reddit’s r/popheads thread, she announced the release of her “iPhone” music video Tuesday night (Aug. 11). The visual will officially drop Thursday, Aug. 13.


The-Dream created a “digital listening experience” on his free account back in April in promotion of his latest Sextape 4 album. But his marketing technique fits the profile of OnlyFans’ prominent users, mainly in the adult entertainment industry, very well. The R&B veteran features and tags dancers from the site to dance to his latest slew of sensual bedroom tunes, including Kayla Marie dancing to “Wee Hours” for the first video, according to Billboard’s exclusive from April 21.

Rubi Rose

The ATL rapper, who made a cameo on Cardi and Megan’s “WAP” music video, is quite a wealthy member of OnlyFans. Newsweek reported last month that the rapper made $100,000 just off of two photos she had previously posted on Instagram, which has elevated her to the top 0.32% of OnlyFans creators. Rose later tweeted in defense of her usage of the platform, which has become “saturated with sex workers who are unable to work turning to OnlyFans for a source of income,” according to the report.

“Only fans isn’t just for porn and sex sh–,” she clarified. “That’s what y’all made it out to be. Just like how ppl thought Snapchat was for sending ‘nudes.’ You can post whatever exclusive content you want for your fans to see.” She currently charges $14.99 for monthly subscriptions.

Safaree Samuels and Erica Mena

The Love & Hip-Hop couple redefined the term PDA with their OnlyFans activity. The rapper joined his wife on the platform in April, according to his shirtless Instagram announcement, as the two turned their accounts into personal yet public romantic spaces.

“Be a fly on our wall,” Mensa tweeted on July 22, along with a sensual red-hued clip of her and Safaree. “My husband joins me on my Only Fans.” She charges $35 a month to access her account, while Safaree charges $24.99 a month.


The rapper also wanted to collect some cash on the site after being inspired by women purchasing their “dream houses” from their OnlyFans profits, according to Insider. Since joining in April, the New York native has cut his monthly subscription cost in half from $50 to $25.

Most Latino Adults Have Not Heard of the Term Latinx, New Poll Finds

In 2018, the term Latinx was officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary defining the word as a gender-inclusive term and an alternative to “Hispanic” or “Latino” used by people of Latin American descent who “do not identify as being of the male or female gender or who simply don’t want to be identified by gender.”

While the term has recently gained popularity among younger Latinos, embraced by a handful of Latin artists like Becky G and Lauren Jauregui and used by some political figures like Julian Castro and Elizabeth Warren when referring to the Latino/Hispanic community, a Pew Research Center poll finds that only 23% of U.S. adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard of the term Latinx and just 3% say they use it to describe themselves.

According to the bilingual survey, conducted in December 2019, Latinos ages 18-29 were the most likely to have heard of Latinx, at 42%. Those who registered the lowest levels of awareness were Spanish-dominant, foreign-born, respondents who identify as Republicans and those with a high school diploma or less.

Furthermore, 33% out of those who have heard the term said it should be used to describe the Hispanic or Latino population, while 65% said it should not be used. Critics of the term have pointed out that the term “anglicizes” the Spanish language and it ignores its gendered form.

Researchers also found that people in the United States still prefer to self-identify as “Hispanic” (61%) followed by “Latino” (29%) or their country of origin.

Pew interviewed 3,030 U.S. Hispanic or Latino adults, ages 18 to 65 and older. See the full report here