Being a record label today means something very different from what it did twenty years ago, and success can be hard to come by. These labels are experimenting with new ways of releasing music, and redefining what it means to be a record label.
Lets face it: the record industry is broken.
But There’s hope. We explored all the ways these labels are flipping the script on releasing music today. So we can all peer into the future together.
And the best part? What they’re doing is easy to start on your own.
1080p’s catalogue is a who’s who of underground experimental electronica. But what’s most unique about 1080p Collection is their digital-first attitude.
Even though they release cassettes, they focus primarily on releasing for digital circulation. It’s a vital blueprint for how the label of the future should work. If the record industry is going to make a new years resolution it should be a 1080p resolution.
Constellation Tatsu describe themselves as ‘adventurous with spiritual artistic sensibilities.’ Sounds about right.
They’re not just a label, they’re a gateway to another dimension.
Tasty Morsels is 100% free. every one of their releases is fully downloadable from their site. It’s kinda like when you put on and old coat and find five bucks in the pocket: it’ll make your entire day better.
Their approach is as natural as their obsession with gardening. It’s what the record industry needs right now: more freedom, more sharing, more gardens.
When you start your own record label, do what Pacific Rhythm did.
Their imprint grew out of an online store and a real life record store located in Vancouver’s China town.
Their shop and releases are the extension of an organically growing community—the essential ingredient for any new label.
A record label should be a universe of its own. Orange Milk creates their own universe better than anyone. It’s full of CGI blobs, floating eyeballs and fractal rainbows.
Through unparalleled album art and a digital-first attitude towards releasing, Orange Milk is redefining the narrative a label can create. Count us in.
Opal Tapes Is a beautiful example of how a label can evolve. Originally a cassette only label, Opal slowly transitioned into releasing Vinyl.
Their business arc is the perfect template for starting things simple and growing into something more. Oh yeah, their releases are incredible too.
A.S.L. SINGLES CLUB
If you’re going to go digital with a label, keep things unified. Digital labels can often get disjointed and splintered as more artists get on board.
A.S.L. Singles Club isn’t one of those labels. Singles Club keeps the feel of a cohesive physical label but with all the perks of digital. Like being able to stream their stuff poolside.
BLOWING UP THE WORKSHOP
Blowing Up The Workshop is challenging the notion of what a record label is.
It’s first and foremost a mix series. But their beautifully crafted mix roster, and use of streaming platforms has carved out a new model for the release of digital music.
It’s time to start thinking differently about what a record label is. Who says your record label has to be a record label?
The record industry needs more grassroots community. Mood Hut brings loads of it to their imprint.
The label grew out of a monthly party that brought together kindred spirits from all over Canada’s west coast and beyond.
As a natural progression, Mood Hut put all the good vibes in one place and started a label.
The community-first approach has made for some of the most breathtaking dance music to come out in a long time.
But no matter what they make, the influence of their family is never far away. All labels need that warm and fuzzy feeling.