An independent music label is, in layman’s terms, an entity outside the umbrella of “The Big Three,” those being Sony, Warner, and Universal. An indie label’s job is a difficult one, working to foster creativity and promote its talent, which are typically underrated, lesser-known artists and music. This is generally an uphill battle in both making a name for itself and its roster, all while attempting to turn a profit.
Despite a multitude of opposing factors, there are many great independent music labels featuring talented artists that have managed to stay afloat in these difficult times. In the age of social media and streaming, the best avenue of promotion is still by word of mouth, so we will start our Independent Music Labels series by taking a look at four of our favorites:
Chamomille Records (not to be confused with Camomille, the experimental electronic netlabel and former home of Lyndsie Alguire) is an Irish independent label formed during the pandemic, fostering self-expression and creativity. Currently, it features artists like Aby Coulibaly and Monjola, both rising stars of the alternative R&B scene who combine soul with joyful rap sections, and employs the talents of in-house producer Moyo.
Luminelle Recordings is an independent pop label formed in 2017, specializing in avant-pop and DIY music. It boasts an impressive catalog, being the home of not only Magdalena Bay and Lisel, but also Helena Delend, Enumclaw, Marsfade, and Munya. It also formerly hosted artists like Anemone, Bodywash, Couch Prints, Das Body, FADE and Hana Vu.
Hardly Art is an offshoot of Sub Pop, focusing on the underground music scene and emerging artists. It was the home of Ian Sweet and currently features artists like Whitmer Thomas, Lala Lala, Colleen Green, and Girl Friday, being known first and foremost for its garage rock, punk, and DIY music with an ironic edge.
Lastly, Sinderlyn, founded in 2014, is the sister label to Captured Tracks, hosting an impressive array of musicians, such as Homeshake, Tatyana, Sarah Mary Chadwick and NOVELLA. Their output varies from DIY to hypnagogic pop and guitar tunes.
Since our aim with this series is new music discovery, we will just focus on four or five labels at a time, and make a playlist of all our favorite artists signed to those labels for you to choose from. To close this first incursion into the world of independent music labels, here is today’s playlist featuring every artist mentioned in this article.
Featured Image is Independence by Ishita Debnath
Reading Material: a detailed view on How Indie Labels Work