25 Independent Record Labels You Should Know

labels-lead

By Monster, Joyce Ng, Caitlin White & Brendan Klinkenberg

If you're reading this article, chances are you've previously poked around some of the other pages on Pigeons & Planes before landing here. What you hopefully noticed was a diverse mix of music and industry-related information to choose from. One of our main focuses here is on striking a healthy balance between the genres of music we cover and the types of artists that get featured. While we'll always make time for something new from Kanye West or Fiona Apple, we also recognize the importance of showcasing the indie acts that represent the Pigeons of P&P.

Independent labels have been making an impact for decades, but the importance of their work is more evident than ever. While radio and television—promotional media lanes traditionally reserved for major label clients—were once the dominant means of breaking artists, the Internet now plays a large role in bringing music to the forefront, and independent labels have a platform to compete on a large scale. Today, indie labels account for about 30% of overall record sales, and while this share is split among thousands of labels worldwide, there are some that stand out among the rest. Here are 25 independent labels you should know.

Click to start the list

  • Mr. Magnificent

    No Luv Luv Luv? FAIL!

  • Based Potatoe

    The part about Domino Records made me curious:
    Do they own several locations in Germany and France?
    ‘Cause there’s quite a discrepancy in scale between Brooklyn on one hand and Germany and France on the other…

  • http://www.pigeonsandplanes.com Monster

    Yeah I see how that could be confusing. Made a revision to help clarify. In short it appears they have two physical locations in London and Brooklyn that also oversee German and French divisions, although it’s not clear if there are actual offices in those countries.

  • http://www.IAmFloridasFinest.com uzi

    thought i’d see strange music here but cool list nevertheless

  • Taylor Maa

    No Strange Music!?

  • Michael

    Wow…missed Fierce Panda. How’d that happen?

  • DAV!D&CLARA

    Mute is not a indie label , they’ve been owned by the EMI family since…ever! Seriously people do the reading on these labels. Now with the EMI publishing and music bankruptcy they’ll be owned by UMG. Seriously , how are people missing this?…

  • Justin Mccluskey

    Cause ppl aint knowin mate!

  • Alec Lawrenz

    Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was not Phoenix’s debut record, it was their fourth.

  • Bewcourt

    Um……Ninja Tune,Secretly Canadian,PMR,Greco Roman,Numbers,R&S…….

  • Luis Novoa

    Run for Cover Records
    Equal Vision Records
    Vagrant Records
    Deep Elm Records
    Epitaph Records
    No Sleep Records
    Paper + Plastick
    SideOneDummy Records
    Fat Wreck Chords

  • Bewcourt

    ok PMR Universal owned. But come on how could anyone not put Ninja Tune?

  • shithead

    dimmak is distributed by ultra…

  • Peter Owen

    Excuse me…. I think you should check your history sunshine! Mute, was a true indie. True – EMI snapped them up in 2002 – A good twenty five years after The Normals TVOD/ Warm Leatherette single and their first breakthrough act – Depeche Mode, but Daniel Miller has remained head of Global Ops. So if you want to be picky – you could say they’re no longer indie but from1978- 2002 warrants that they should still be regarded as an incredible Indie label launching D.Mode, Yazoo, Nick Cave, Moby, Nitzer Ebb and championing industrial music, electro-house (Nova-Mute) and grunge (via Blast first) etc etc. And once you’ve got a roster like that, you’re gonna get snapped up eventually!!

  • B-ron

    I’m surprised Young Turks wasn’t on here.

  • Mike

    big machine is genius and should definitely be known, even if youre not a country fan. That label is doing big things, i can tell you that

  • john

    uhhh drag city anyone?

  • Jake Martin

    Where the hell is Strange Music on here?

  • jmoney

    You forgot one, Cos Records. Look them up!!

  • OG STRANGER
  • Adrian Torres

    No love for the older punk labels?
    SST (Black Flag, Minutemen, Husker Du, Soundgarden)
    Alternative Tentacles (Lard, Dead Kennedys (once upon a time))
    Dischord (MInor Threat, Fugazi, Jawbox)
    Touch and Go (Butthole Surfers, Big Black, Shellac)
    or do local ones not count?

  • LABELSCATALONIA

    From Catalonia interesting labels: BCore, Bankrobber, Indian Runners, Ozono Kids, Famèlic, brave coast, Saltamarges

  • LABELSCATALONIA

    From Catalonia interesting labels: BCore, Bankrobber, Indian Runners, Ozono Kids, Famèlic, brave coast, Saltamarges

  • Lee West
  • Lucas

    Ghostly International…

  • Gabs

    Don’t forget third man records

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  • melissa

    and drag city!!

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  • stationone123

    Vision Records in Miami has a deal where you can press your shit and get it out there. It’s a fortune, but what else can you do? You got to do something.

  • Therese Tumbleweed

    Where is Asthmatic Kitty records?

  • Jesse

    Ahem… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Seriously? The early 2000s Warped Tour called; they want their shitty line-ups back.

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