WINCON 2023: Noemí Planas Receives AMAEI Caldas Award in Lisbon and leads annual global independent music forum.

  • On October 30th, Noemí Planas received the prestigious award for her work expanding the Worldwide Independent Network, as WIN’s CEO, and other career achievements in the sector.
  • WIN’s annual forum, WINCON, took place in Lisbon and facilitated knowledge-sharing among the global independent community, as part of AMAEI’s Digital Music Days conference.
  • The agenda included artificial intelligence, streaming remuneration, PRO developments, community building and insights into emerging markets.
  • WIN Associations and Members discussed the shared values of the independent sector and contributed to an update of WIN’s Global Independent Standard, to be published in Q1 2024.

AMAEI, the Portuguese association of independent music companies recognized Planas’ longstanding commitment to the independent music community during the Digital Music Days conference in Lisbon. Created in 2019, the Caldas Award honors those who truly exemplify excellence in the independent music industry. Its first recipient and namesake, Charles Caldas, is known for his outstanding work as CEO of Merlin, the independent global rights agency.

Caldas presented the award himself to Planas and detailed her achievements in developing WIN’s dynamic and ever-growing network of members, today composed of 37 members throughout Australasia, Asia, Europe, North and South America, representing thousands of music businesses and professionals worldwide. 

Under Planas’ leadership, the global body launched groundbreaking collaborative initiatives, the LatAm Network and the APAC Alliance, and has recently welcomed new members and organizations in India, Paraguay and Bulgaria (via the European association IMPALA).  Planas’ role at WIN followed a long chain of lauded roles in record labels, festivals, artist management and publishing.

Noemí Planas has proved herself as a principled and dedicated advocate for the independent community. She is a formidable leader at WIN, creating new connections that continue to expand its reach into markets that are increasingly important to the future of our industry.  Her energy, commitment and heart leave me in no doubt that her dedication to our sector is, like her, the real deal. I can think of no better recipient for this award.

Charles Caldas, ex-CEO and founder of Merlin and partner in Exceleration Music

It is with a warm THANK YOU that AMAEI awards this 3rd ever CALDAS Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Independent Music Sector to WIN’s CEO Noemí Planas. I have known Noemí since AMAEI first joined IMPALA and WIN, back in 2013 when she was the Executive Manager of UFI, and Noemí always went above and beyond the call of duty in defense of the independent sector, sharing knowledge, and always being there for the independents. Keep up the excellent work!

Nuno Saraiva, President of AMAEI

It’s fantastic to see Noemí recognized by AMAEI for her leadership in growing the world’s independent music network.  Noemí works tirelessly to facilitate the establishment of new associations, most recently in Paraguay, and collaboration between regional blocs, as evidenced by the inaugural APAC alliance meeting in Tokyo 24th October.  Despite the ever-growing number of challenges to independent music companies, WIN’s board and community is more focussed and determined than ever with Noemí as CEO.

Zena White, Chair of WIN and COO Partisan Records


WINCON, the annual forum for the global independent network, took place on October 30th in Lisbon as part of the Digital Music Days conference organized by AMAEI. The event featured knowledge-sharing on key global independent music issues for WIN members and, this year, public panel sessions on key issues for attendees of Digital Music Days. The conference was preceded by an in-person meeting of the WIN Board.

WINCON’s constant aim is to support, build and celebrate the unity, richness, and diversity of the independent sector, to strengthen its international network and to foster local connections. This year saw participants from over 40 countries across 5 continents. It was a first for the newest members from three continents: AMNIP (Bulgaria, via IMPALA) and AMI (Paraguay) who joined in person, and SIMCA (India) with an online presentation. The event created an opportunity to network and build connections with other WIN members and with local Portuguese music professionals with a final networking event on the day powered by Bandcamp.

The meeting of WIN’s Board provided the opportunity to look at the progress made by the organization over the past year, delve into detail on ongoing projects, and discuss hot topics such as new remuneration for streaming, generative AI’s impact on independent music and updates on collecting societies. Consideration was also given to reviewing our collective manifesto, the Global Independent Values, to ensure it is fit for purpose in light of current issues and challenges and make a strong statement on shared values across the global independent music community. The results of that process are expected in early 2024.

About the Caldas Award
AMAEI, the Portuguese independent music association, awards the prestigious prize to honor outstanding contribution to the independent music sector. This award takes the form of a traditional ceramic piece skillfully crafted by Bordallo Pinheiro. It harmoniously merges a gramophone with a rock’n’roll mouth, resulting in a unique artwork symbolizing the tireless dedication and passion for the music industry of its recipients. Manufactured in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, it stands as a testament to remarkable achievements.