New York City has long been the place to be for independent music labels. From big name and mainstays acts to the hottest indie and underground music scene, New York has been a music mecca for decades. Since the radio age, NYC has been THE place to be for the recording industry. Here at Rivington Music, we compiled a list of our favorite NYC-based indie music labels, with a focus on up-and-coming companies doing exciting things.
Matador Records was started in Chris Lombardi’s apartment in 1989. Since then it has been the incubator for big-name indie artists such as Cat Power, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, and more. Throughout the label’s history, Matador has been a champion of artistic freedom, diversity and innovation. Staying true to their indie roots, Matador has consistently been the delivery mechanism of high-quality, high-art music for decades. The label’s catalog and release schedule reflect the tastes of the company’s owners and their longstanding commitment to sharing the music they love with as many others as possible.
DFA was the label that unleashed LCD Soundsystem onto the world stage and is often called “the little record label that could.” DFA Records grew from a small-time operation begun on a series of 12″ single vinyl releases to a bustling powerhouse for artists such as Guerilla Toss and Factory Floor. This label has grown steadily, producing full-length albums for its ever-growing roster of artists, as well as releasing selections of singles and compilations on their label. DFA has been and continues to be an integral part of the NYC music scene.
DJs A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs founded Fool’s Gold in 2005. The label that represents Kid Cudi, Run the Jewels, and other hip-hop and world artists. Run from a humble storefront in Williamsburg, it was dubbed an “indie innovator” by Billboard. In terms of underground hip hop, there is almost no other name as real as Fool’s Gold.