08. 09. 2023.



This Thursday at the Vienna WAVES Festival and Conference, IMPALA elected a new board for a term of two years and reviewed the priorities of the association in the coming year. These include AI opportunities, streaming reform, fiscal support, growing the network in Central Eastern Europe and boosting sustainability and inclusion work.

The board appointed Francesca Trainini of Italian national association PMI as president, while Dario Draštata of Balkan regional association RUNDA was elected as the new chair of IMPALA. The members thanked Everlasting Records CEO Mark Kitcatt, who stepped down as president to continue as a board member and chair of IMPALA’s streaming reform group. He also continues as IMPALA’s representative on the executive committee of WIN. Geert De Blaere, representing Belgian association BIMA, will continue as treasurer of the association, with Helen Smith remaining as executive chair.

IMPALA’s priorities for the next mandate have been revised for the following two years. In line with the appointment of Dario Draštata as chair, development of our work in Central and Eastern Europe will be one of our headline priorities. IMPALA will also further its efforts to achieve streaming reform with its plan to maximise revenue for artists. This will go hand in hand with our commitment to lead on sustainability and EDI issues.


As the digital market constantly evolves, IMPALA will seek to seize the commercial opportunities presented by AI, also making sure the legislative framework keeps pace with the sector's needs and challenges. Our future efforts will also be focused on growing and securing fiscal support for the independent music company sector across Europe. At IMPALA’s AGM, the members also thanked Merlin for their support on key IMPALA projects such as One Step Ahead and Strategic Primers, both of which play a key role in boosting digital capacity within the independent sector.

A special thank you goes to Alexander Hirschenhauser and Paulina Parvanov from VTMÖ, who celebrate the association's 20th anniversary this year, along with WAVES for organising and hosting our board and Central and Eastern Europe working group meeting. The conference was also a great showcase for the independent sector as a whole. IMPALA’s Executive Chair, Helen Smith participated in a panel on the role of independent labels titled ‘Proud To Be Independent’ alongside Nadja Haderer from Ink Music and Joe Mercer Danher from Merlin. On the WAVES agenda today is a keynote interview with [PIAS]’s Michel Lambot on the company’s 40th anniversary in the industry. IMPALA’s President Francesca Trainini is also featured, moderating  a panel on the challenges and opportunities of AI.

New IMPALA chair Dario Draštata, Executive Director of regional association RUNDA (ex-Yugoslavia countries) commented: We are set up for the next two years and developing the network will be one of my key priorities. The Central and Eastern European region is a huge market with amazing talent and I am excited to be able to chair IMPALA with the huge opportunities we have across streaming and the whole market.

New IMPALA president Francesca Trainini, vice president of Italian association PMI added: “My priority will be to support our streaming reform work along with the chair of our working group Mark Kitcatt. This also includes maximising AI opportunities as well as ensuring we have the right frameworks in place as regards to copyright.”

IMPALA treasurer, Geert De Blaere, board member of Belgian association BIMA stated: “I am delighted to continue as treasurer of IMPALA. The whole question of how the sector can grow through clever use of fiscal incentives is one of my top priorities. We want to see a more coordinated approach across Europe to maximise the sector’s ability to take risks with new artists and develop their businesses.”

Alexander Hirschenhauser, founding member of Austrian association VTMÖ added: “The highlight for me was being able to showcase key talent from the Austrian independent music sector and the IMPALA meetings at WAVES were a great opportunity for VTMÖ members to network with their counterparts across Europe.”

IMPALA's executive chair, Helen Smith concluded: “Thanks to Austrian association VTMÖ for hosting our first annual meeting in Vienna at the WAVES conference. Alongside artist remuneration, streaming and AI, our members prioritised carbon literacy, diversity work and other key issues such as a new fiscal approach. Welcome to our new executive board members who will help us achieve our new goals.”

The list of IMPALA members elected to the Board so far (more to follow under IMPALA’s new programme) is (in alphabetical order):

  • !K7 (represented by Horst Weidenmüller and Tom Nieuweboer)
  • 8Ball Music (represented by Floris Janssen and Helene Koekoek)
  • AIM (represented by Silvia Montello and Gee Davy)
  • AIM Ireland (represented by Gill Dooley)
  • AMAEI (represented by Pedro Marques and Ana Rita Feijão)
  • ANMIP (represented by Ruth Koleva)
  • Beggars Group (represented by Paul Redding)
  • Better Noise Music (represented by Dan Waite and Claudia Mancino)
  • BIMA (represented by Geert de Blaere)
  • Cooking Vinyl (represented by Martin Goldschmidt and Michelle Polley)
  • Cosmos Music Group (represented by Robert Litsen and Lisa Ohman)
  • DUP (represented by Kristoffer Rom and Laura Littauer)
  • Edel (represented by Jonas Haentjes)
  • Epitaph (represented by Roger Dorresteijn)
  • Everlasting Records (represented by Mark Kitcatt and Yavanna Cubas Callero)
  • FONO (represented by Larry Bringsjord and Olga Solyanik)
  • HAIL (represented by Zsolt Jeges and Csaba Nasz)
  • IndieCo (represented by Katja Vaukhonen and Riku Pääkkönen)
  • INDIERO (represented by Dan Muraru and Anca Lupes)
  • IndieSuisse (represented by Andreas Ryser and Fabienne Schmuki)
  • [PIAS] Music Group (represented by Michel Lambot)
  • Platforma (represented by Matej Burda and Martin Nedvêd)
  • Playground Music Scandinavia (represented by Jonas Sjöström and Rebecka Sjöström)
  • PMI (represented by Francesca Trainini and Guendalina Gramitto Ricci)
  • RUNDA (represented by Dario Draštata and Pavle Eftimovski)
  • SCL / Lusitanian (represented by Nuno Saraiva)
  • SOM (represented by Eva Karman Reinhold)
  • STOMP (represented by Kees van Weijen and Helene Koekoek)
  • Sugar Music (represented by Andrea Cotromano)
  • UFI (represented by Sonia Durán)
  • UPFI (represented by Guilhem Cottet and Laure Cavaillé)
  • VTMÖ (represented by Alexander Hirschenhauser and Paulina Parvanov)
  • VUT (represented by Jörg Heidemann and Henrietta Bauer)
  • Wagram Music (represented by Stephan Bourdoiseau and Arthur Zeller)

For more information on the structure of IMPALA, click here.

More about IMPALA’s work during the year as welcomed at IMPALA’s AGM