Little giants: Most successful indie record labels

One of the things that Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, and Drake have in common is that they have all achieved mainstream success in the field of music. With the help of their record labels, they were able to reach new heights in terms of album sales and concert revenues. It is no exaggeration to say that one of the reasons for their success can be mainly attributed to their organizations. That doesn’t mean, however, that artists who are signed with indie labels cannot be just as successful. As a matter of fact, the rise of digital platforms has made it even more possible for them to reach unprecedented fame.

Трип (pronounced ‘trip’) is one such record label. Founded by Nina Kraviz, it is where technophiles come to flock together to get their fill of fast-paced beats and complicated sets of whistles. Bjarki, a music prodigy from Iceland, as well as Aphex Twin are also associated with трип.

Another big hitter in the indie scene is DDS. In 2015, they were able to capitalize on the success of Stephen O’Malley, Shinichi Atobe, and Micachu’s LPs. The following year, they were able to soar with the release of Demdike Stare’s music. They are not afraid to take chances and they definitely sound good while doing it.


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As for Swing Ting, they can be located smack dab in the center of the United Kingdom’s party center, Manchester. At the forefront is Samrai and Platt who was able to create an entirely different being in the form of solid gold 12 inches and EPs. They mashed together R&B, jungle, and grime and was able to give birth to a beast.

As far hip-hop success is concerned, Macklemore earns all the marbles. Together with Ryan Lewis, the indie label has produced some of pop music’s most popular songs. Two of their singles, ‘Can’t Hold Us’ and ‘Thrift Shop’ reached the top of various charts, including the Billboard 100. On Youtube, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis has over 4 million subscribers and total video views of more than 2 billion. In addition, they have four Grammy awards to their name.

But the most successful of all, perhaps, is none other than XL Recordings, the indie music company behind such modern icons as Vampire Weekend, Radiohead, and of course, Adele. The label rarely produces more than six albums a year, but each release is almost always a major success.


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With music streaming, digital download, and online marketing easier than ever, independent music productions can soon be as established as their traditional and ‘bigger’ counterparts. For musicians, such set up is extremely advantageous, as they are given both higher creative freedom and better chances at earning lucratively.   There is still a long way before indie records can eventually dominate the industry, but the future seems optimistic as a whole. In some situations, indie companies are even part of investors’ portfolio. However, just like conventional music productions, indie artists are not spared from music piracy, which costs the US economy around 12.5 billion dollars in damage annually. Nonetheless, independent musicians should never get discouraged with such issues and continue producing quality music.