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Marlton, NJ – April 4, 2011 – Nicki Minaj will be honored as NARM’s “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” at the 2011 NARM Music Business Convention Awards Dinner Finale to take place at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 12.  After building steam as an underground MC, Minaj, “part comic, part sex symbol and all-the-way lyrical assassin,” burst into the mainstream in 2010.  In October, she became the first artist to have seven songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously and the only artist to have eight titles on the chart in a year. Her debut album Pink Friday (Young Money/Cash Money), released November 21, 2010, sold more copies in the first week than any other female rapper in a decade. Pink Friday was RIAA certified platinum within a month of release, and was one of the best-selling releases of 2010. She also received a 2011 GRAMMY Nomination for “Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group” for the single “My Chick Bad” with Ludacris.

“Nicki Minaj is a musical phenomenon. Her exceptional creativity and outstanding performances were a game-changer in 2010,” said Jim Donio, President of NARM. “Her debut release was ‘breakthrough’ in every sense of the word, and we look forward to more music from this extraordinary young artist.”

Her freestyle rapping and mix tapes earned her attention from many, including Lil Wayne, who instantly made her part of Young Money.  As her notoriety began to rise, Minaj began to cultivate vivid individual personalities for her performances: Nicki Lewinsky, Nicki the Ninja, Nicki the Harajuku Barbie and Nicki the Boss each hold their own place in Minaj’s creative, ever-expanding mind. She gave commanding performances on singles including Kanye West’s “Monster” which also features Jay-Z and her infectious, standout appearances alongside Lil Wayne (“Knockout”), Usher (“Lil Freak”), Trey Songz (“Bottoms Up”), Robin Thicke (“Shakin’ It 4 Daddy”), Sean Kingston (“Letting Go”), and Christina Aguilera (“WooHoo”), leaving everyone waiting to hear what she could do on her own release.

Pink Friday did not disappoint. With just over 30 days of sales in 2010, it was one of the best-selling releases of the year, and went to #1 on the Billboard charts in January 2011. Minaj is currently on tour in the U.S. and Canada through the end of April.

Registration for the NARM Convention is open now, and special rates for first-time independent retailers, individual members, and music business students are offered. The four-day event includes a Music Business Crash Course presented in collaboration with the American Association Of Independent Music (A2IM), an Entertainment & Technology Law Conference, a Townhall meeting for Artist Managers, a Musical Celebration sponsored by UMGD, special interest and genre-specific group meet-ups, an opening keynote interview with songwriter, producer and President of Creative at BMG North America Billy Mann, the Digital Think Tank update with keynote interview by Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners, special networking receptions sponsored by WEA, Rocket Science,  and Sony Music Entertainment, and more.

All registrants of the NARM Convention are invited to attend the Awards Dinner Finale. Honorees at the event will include Brian Wilson for the Chairman’s Award, American Idol with an Outstanding Achievement Award celebrating the show’s 10th season; legendary songwriters Ken Gamble and Leon Huff for the Outstanding Achievement Award for Musical Collaboration; artist and advocate Annie Lennox for the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award; John Marmaduke, Chairman of the Board, President & CEO of Hastings Entertainment with the Presidential Award for Sustained Executive Achievement; and Rachelle and Joe Friedman, founders of New York retail icon J&R Music & Computer World, with the Independent Spirit Award.  Additional award recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.

About NARM:

Established in 1958, NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) is the trade association for the business of music, providing the central platform for the discussion of industry-wide concerns, spearheading the implementation of initiatives to promote music commerce, and advocating for common interests. Members include companies and individuals from all aspects of music distribution, including physical, digital, and mobile outlets as well as gaming, applications, merchandise, video and more. NARM members have access to a variety of conferences, virtual seminars, networking opportunities, information and education resources. NARM is a non-profit organization based in Marlton, New Jersey. Visit us at www.narm.com.

NARM’s Annual Convention is the nexus of commerce and content, bringing together ALL aspects of the business for four of the most important days on the music industry calendar. The 2011 NARM Convention & Crash Course will take place Monday, May 9, through Thursday, May 12 at the Los Angeles Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.

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Media can request credentials for the NARM Convention online at http://www.narm.com/events/2011-convention-crash-course/media/

Media Contacts:

Laurie Jakobsen, Jaybird Communications — laurie@jaybirdcom.com, 646.484.6764

Karen Wiessen, Jaybird Communication – karenwiessen@mac.com, 917.627.9363

Nicole Hennessey, NARM — hennessey@narm.com, 856.596.1803