When they call the AMP Awards for Music & Sound the loudest show in the ad industry, they’re not kidding. When the 2019 AMP Awards takes the stage at Sony Hall in New York on May 21, the organizers from the Association of Music Producers, the awards competition’s sponsoring group, will feature performances from emerging artists Idgy Dean and The Kraken Quarter, two DJ sets from boundary-pushing turntablists with deep roots in the ad music industry and a long list of sponsoring companies who’ve put their money where their mouths are when it comes to supporting independent music companies. 

“We’re going to have a really epic show this year, and our line-up of talent and sponsors is a big reason why,” says Elad Marish, National President of AMP and Partner at Swell Music + Sound. “Everyone on the awards committee has worked hard to make this the strongest AMP Awards presentation yet. That includes finding great young artists to present to our audience and securing the kind of support needed to produce a show of this caliber, one that reflects the high quality of the work we’re honoring.”

The awards gala, which promises to be a sell-out, is set for Tuesday, May 21 at Sony Hall in New York City. Tickets are available on the AICP web site here. The AMP Awards last played this venue in 2017 when the historic space, located in the basement of the Paramount Hotel just off Time Square, was known as the Diamond Horseshoe. It took a year off in 2018 when the venue was shuttered on short notice for renovation, but it back in full force this year. 

Leading off will be the Brooklyn-based pop sensation Idgy Dean, who’ll be followed by a set from The Kraken Quartet. The evening will also feature DJ sets by Mike Ladman, a music supervisor at Droga5, and Jay Wadley, co-founder of music house Found Objects, who’ll spin as a duo, and Hang the DJ, consisting of Francis Garcia of Shout It Out Loud Music and Charlie Davis, director of synch at BMG. 

“I’m so excited about who we have booked for this year’s show,” says Al Risi, Partner at Groove Guild and a member of the AMP Awards Committee. “We went to great lengths to not only find artists we felt fit the show, but to design the event around their performances in such a way that they’re embedded in the presentation.”

Idgy Dean infuses her one-woman psychedelic rock with a calming Zen presence that belies the emotional intensity of her DIY beats. Known for her captivating, high-energy live performances, Idgy – also known as Lindsay Sanwald – has been making music since she was a teenager, inspired to play drums, guitar and bass and write her own songs by the dual presence of Kate Bush and Nine Inch Nails. Her music has been placed in ads for Adobe, Dell and Vertra Sunscreen, as well as for a video feature on the website of SURFER Magazine. 

The Kraken Quartet is a genre-crossing group heralded for merging elements of mini-malism, math-rock, indie, post-rock, electronica and the avant-garde. The group has been featured on festivals and broadcasts including SXSW, Audiotree Live, Fast Forward Austin, SoFar Sounds, Austin Instrumental Music Festival, WNYC, KUTX and more. The group, whose debut album, Separate | Migrate, is now available, has presented master classes at schools like CalArts, UT Austin and Ithaca College.

“Our goal in lining up artists wasn’t about who sold the most records or had more streams,” Risi points out. “It was about finding artists who were absolutely undeniably amazing live. I want people to walk away from this year’s show talking about the music. I want them saying, ‘Who the f--k was that! They blew me away. How did I not know about them?’” 

Sourcing emerging artists is an area where AMP members are taking leadership roles, Risi notes. “I think we have a responsibility to shine a light on some of the amazing talent out there and give them a platform within our world for all to see, enjoy and build relationships. My hope is that either The Kraken Quartet or Idgy Dean, if not both, will have a spot in consideration at next year’s AMP Awards. Selfishly I hope it's me that finds them a nice sync deal, but I’ll be just as happy and proud if somebody beats me to it. And yes, that’s a direct challenge to all my music supervisor colleagues out there!”

Solid Industry Support 
The line-up of sponsors for this year’s competition is as impressive as its talent offerings. Groove Guild, Risi’s own company, took the Platinum slot, followed closely by Gold Sponsor Sugaroo! Music. Additional sponsors include ABKCO Music, APM Music, Concord Music, Concord Music Publishing, FGMK Insurance, Manage Ad Music, Megatrax, Music Alternatives, Musicbed, Music Sales Creative, posthuman, Reservoir Media and West One Music Group. 

Additional sponsors signed on to support the Sony Hall bash itself. This group includes Audio Network, Dr Priestly's Fizzy Water, FGMK Insurance, Guitar Center, Heaven’s Door Spirits, Swell Music + Sound and PLAY. Media sponsors include Little Black Book, SHOOT Magazine | SHOOTonline and Source |SHOTS | Slate.

“A lot of factors contributed to this increase in participation,” Risi explains. “One of the biggest is the momentum we had coming off our ‘17 show. In addition to returning sponsors, we have new ones that attended that show and wanted in for this year. 

“We set the bar pretty high that year,” Risi continues. “It was our fifth anniversary and we had a new venue, so we took great care to elevate the show from where it was the year before. People noticed, and that went a long way to solidifying the AMP Awards as the premier music awards show in our business.” 

Risi notes that the AMP Awards Committee took a more strategic approach to soliciting sponsorships as well, and tapped the expertise of sister association AICP to reach out to interested parties. He largely credits AICP’s Director of Relationship Marketing, Neal Lattner, with overseeing and structuring sponsorship levels that created a wide menu of options for companies wanting to get involved. 

A big growth area was the record label and music publishing worlds, and Risi says AMP’s success here has much to do with their outreach to these important areas of the industry. “As an association we’ve been making a concerted effort to open our tent more to include these partners in a more proactive away,” he notes. “The worlds of music and advertising have evolved to an extent that labels and publishers are now firmly at the table with the agencies and brands, just like music houses.”

Risi is particularly proud of a sponsor signing that’s not from music or advertising: it’s Heaven’s Door Spirits, a new whisky brand launched by none other than Bob Dylan. “I’ve been doing some work with them recently and they just seemed like such a natural fit for our show,” he says. “To their credit, they saw the same thing and were quick to say yes!”