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Indie Labels

Indie record labels, large and small, are where most bands get a start (and where many find their success). Find out more about these music business trendsetters.
  1. Electronica Label List

VP Records
VP Records is THE record label for Caribbean artists - there are few other choices. How did VP Records rise to dominate Caribbean music? Learn more about VP Records in this VP Records profile.

Cherry Red Records Profile
Cherry Red Records is best known for their reissues these days, but in its earlier days, the label was a major player in the UK indie music scene. Learn more about the history of the label in this Cherry Red Records profile.

XL Records Profile
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Stiff Records Profile
Started in 1976 by Dave Robinson and Jake Riveria, two figures in the burgeoning London pub rock scene, Stiff Records was arguably the first British punk rock label and a huge influence on a long line of independent labels, from Rough Trade and Postcard to Sub Pop and XL, and continue to be an influence, both through the music they released and attitude they exuded.

Honest Jon's Records
From London's famous home for serious music fans came one of the world's most eclectic labels, Honest Jon's. Honest Jon's Records only has one rule for the music they release - that it be good. Learn more about Honest Jon's Records.

Stax Record Profile
Stax Records, home of Issac Hayes, Otis Redding and many more, Stax was the antidote to the hit factory soul coming out of Motown. Though the label appear here in the indie label list, it has actually been both indie and major label subsidiary. Find out more about the history of Stax Records.

Bloodshot Records Profile
Indie record label Bloodshot Records has blazed a trail through the music industry, making a name for themselves by making a success out of music that other labels wouldn't know what to do with. By keeping their creative quality control high and fighting hard to stay independent, Bloodshot Records is one of the most successful indie labels...

Upsetter Records Profile
Lee "Scratch" Perry's Upsetter Records introduced the world to several reggae stars who endure to this day. Upsetter Records was one of the first Jamaican based reggae labels to have success overseas and helped pave the way for the mega success of Bob Marley. Learn more about the Upsetter Records story.

Enjoy Records Profile
Along with Sugarhill Records, Bobby Robinson's Enjoy Records helped put hip hop on the map in the late 70s and early 80s. For some reason, the story of Enjoy Records often gets lost in the shuffle of music history, but this independent label was one of the most groundbreaking of its time. Find out more in this profile of Enjoy Records.

Soma Records Profile
Scotland's Soma Records is one the world's most respected dance and electronica record labels. Although Soma is best known for it's association with Slam and for releasing Daft Punk singles, the label is loved by dance music fans all over the world. Learn more about Soma Records, including the label's current demo policy.

Sugarhill Records Profile
Sugarhill Records introduced rap music to a mainstream audience, having released the first rap single ever to make the Billboard charts. The record label ushered in a new era in music, but there was trouble behind the scenes. Learn more about the history of Sugarhill Records.

53rd and 3rd Records Profile
If one label sums up the so called C86 "movement" it is 53rd and 3rd. This Scottish record label was very small but incredibly influential. Learn more about the 53rd and 3rd Records story, including a look at the 53rd and 3rd catalog.

Sarah Records Profile
Full of indie fervor and mixing politics with their music, Sarah Records was a bit of a one-off among labels. Their ethos was as popular to them as their music, and they have perhaps the best label demise story ever. Find out how they managed to stay fiercely independent and still sell loads and loads of records.

Othaz Records Profile
North Carolina based independent hip hop label Othaz Records has sales figures that would make many major labels jealous, and they're just getting started. Learn more about Waleed Coyote's Othaz Records including the label's artists and how they managed to find success so quickly. Info about their demo policy is also included.

Smacks Records Profile
New Jersey based underground hip hop label Smacks Records started changing the way labels work with their artists way before everyone else was talking about it. Run by Mr. Len of Company Flow fame, Smacks is all about making sure the artists get a fair deal and the support they need. Find out more about how Smacks has made it work and what...

99 Records Profile
In it's very short tenure, 99 Records turned out some of the most sampled records of all times. The label imploded after a nasty battle with royalties with Sugarhill Records - a battle that caused Ed Bahlman, 99's founder, to quit the music business for good. While it lasted, however, 99 Records proved what matters most isn't genre but rather simply releasing good music.

Stones Throw Records Profile
Stones Throw Records is a little label with a big impact on hip hop. Like many indie labels, it is run by someone who has been both artists and label boss, something that influences its way of doing business greatly. Learn more about Stones Throw Records, including how to send your demo to Stones Throw.

Touch and Go Records Profile
Touch and Go Records is one of indie music's biggest champions. This fiercely independent record label has grown tremendously over the years, and along the way, Touch and Go has been committed to giving a leg up to other indie labels that share their ethos. Learn more about this indie music success story.

Creation Records Profile
The Creation Records story is a good contrast in indie music and major label music, and the difficulties many small labels face when their bands become bigger than the label. Success was both saved and destroyed Creation in equal measures, and there's a lot to learn from how their story. Find out more.

Postcard Records Profile
Postcard Records was short lived, but extremely influential. It helped cement Glasgow's reputation as a music city, and the bands on Postcard Records paved the wave and inspired the sounds of succesful acts that thrived long after Postcard Records had closed up shop. Get the story behind the music.

Factory Records Profile
Factory Records managed to have a tremendous impact on the music industry in spite of bankruptcy and questionable business plans like losing money on every copy they sold of their most popular release. Factory Records might not have had the world's best business plan, but the label certainly knew good music when they heard it and they certainly...

Sub Pop Records Profile
The name Sub Pop Records will forever be synonymous with Nirvana, but there is much more to the record label than that. Sun Pop is a model of how indie labels can make it big with innovative thinking and working hard to court their fans.

Matador Records Profile
Matador Records is about as close to a major record label as indie label can get. In fact, the label has been under the major label umbrella more than once in its lifetime but has always gone back to indie ways. The story of Matador is interesting not just for the success the label has had but for the way it illustrates to the difference between the indie and major label music worlds.

Rough Trade Records
Rough Trade Records has been an indie music success story for more than 20 years. The label has a habit of discovering "the next big thing" - a golden touch that hasn't dimmed over the years. Find out how Rough Trade has made it all work and what you can learn from how they have done things.

Domino Records Profile
Domino Records has grown to become one of the most influential indie labels ever. Find out how they made it happen and how they keep their place on top.

About Punk Music Profile of Epitaph Records
Check out this profile of seminal punk label Epitaph by Ryan Copper, About.com's guide to punk music.

Chess Records Profile
If you like music, then you like Chess Records. Period. Find out how this poweful little label changed the face of music in this profile of Chess Records.

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