Entertainment & Arts

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis win independent music awards

Macklemore crowd-surfing
Image caption Macklemore (pictured) and Ryan Lewis have sold out gigs around the world

US rap duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have won two prizes at the Association of Independent Music (Aim) Awards for their self-released debut album.

The pair, whose songs Thrift Shop and Can't Hold Us are among the biggest hits of 2013, won most played new act and breakthrough of the year.

They were the only act to win more than one award at the ceremony in London.

Daughter picked up independent album of the year, Enter Shikari were named best live act and Warp won best indie label.

The prizes honoured acts and record companies operating outside the major label system.

Rapper Macklemore and producer Lewis did everything from recording the album to designing their artwork and directing their videos.

Image caption The xx took the award for "best difficult second album"

Their album The Heist came out last year and they have sold out tours and racked up millions of views on YouTube.

Rather than signing their rights and artistic control to a major label in a conventional deal, they released the album through their own label but enlisted the Alternative Distribution Alliance - an arm of the major Warner empire - to distribute and promote it.

"That's the interesting thing about where the music industry is right now," Macklemore, real name Ben Haggerty, told Billboard magazine in January.

"You have major labels that are willing to take unconventional approaches because the old model is crumbling in front of us."

Elsewhere at Tuesday's Aim ceremony, Mercury Prize-winning band The xx won the award for best difficult second album for Coexist and Vampire Weekend picked up track of the year for their song Diane Young.

Django Django's WOR was named best video and Sunderland group Frankie and the Heartstrings, who opened their own record shop in the town this summer, were crowned hardest-working band.

Meanwhile, BBC 6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq was honoured with a special recognition award, presented by singer Richard Hawley, for his 20 years on the BBC airwaves.

Fellow 6 Music presenter Gilles Peterson received the indie champion award, while singer-songwriter Billy Bragg was recognised for his outstanding contribution to music.

Oxford-based Alcopop! Records won best small label and Geoff Travis, founder of the Rough Trade label, was given the pioneer award.

Aim chief executive Alison Wenham said: "The high quality and diversity of all the winners in a very strong year for the sector points to a bright future for the UK music industry."

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