The rise of independent music labels!

House | Wednesday 12th June 2013 | Keshav


Electronic music is not always the most viable in a commercial sense. Labels have continued to shun many DJs out because of the underground nature of the scene. That’s why we see a new wave of artist-run music labels popping up. It seems that every DJ has now taken it upon themselves to set up their own label upon which they distribute music. So why are so many coming through?

Take the artists point of view and they will focus on the creative aspect. Label managers restrict the development of artists in most scenarios. Why might this be? Well its simple, artists develop their music based on age and influence. What artists go through matters not to most label executives because for them it’s all about sales. Once a winning formula works it must be stuck to and gotten the most out of. Just take a look at the charts and you will realise that electronic is not underground like it used to be. To keep fresh artists must continuously be experimenting with new sounds. We don’t see many young artists start up their own labels due to the fact they still require the publicity and boost to establish themselves .The trend is only in the established names because in electronic music a big name can go a long way. As young artists DJs tend to overwork to get their music heard this might mean playing 7 nights in different cities across Europe. Once a DJ has built up a following clubs and festivals will start to come calling and no large label input will be needed.

The labels are not all bad though! Although sometimes described as money grabbing evil co operations it’s not like that at all. It’s essential for a DJ to be backed by a good team at the label. At the end of the day the label wants to make back any potential investment on a DJ. They therefore will do their best to book them the biggest shows. Hudson Mohawke for example has been on the electronic scene for many years now, and was recently signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D label. It’s safe to say that this deal will send Mr Mohawke’s music well and truly global and well propel him to superstardom. By working on music such as Mercy by Kanye West this is sure to be a move that will do no harm to his DJ career.

An example that has recently bucked this trend is ‘Disclosure’. The duo from London burst onto the scene this year with hit single ‘White Noise’. Disclosure’s stint on the mainstream comes hand in hand with the explosion of what many call main stream electronica. What this phrase encapsulates is pretty hard to define and it’s what a lot of artists are doing at the moment. The music is starting to become more radio and chart friendly and sales are starting to pick up. Whether this will last or not remains to be seen but it could mean more electronic acts get signed to recognised labels with their music being distributed worldwide.

Most pop starts of today are engineered projections however as ironic as it seems electronica (a music based on production engineering) seems to be floating in a direction of its own. Mainstream clubs are now starting to branch out into genres such as deep house in order to bring in the most revenue. At first glance the explosion of these artist-run labels seems to allow artists to continue to dominate the genre and release music how and when they want. However with Daft Punk bringing disco and electronic music back to the forefront we are now well and truly in a generation where electronic music sells! The big labels will sure be swooping in sooner rather than later and look to dominate this artist powered genre.

Keshav Kapoor