New York City has long been the place to be for independent music labels. New York has been a music mecca for decades featuring big name and mainstays acts to the hottest indie underground music scene. NYC has been THE place to be for the recording industry, since the radio age. Rivington Music compiled a list of our favorite NYC-based indie music labels. We focusing on up-and-coming companies doing exciting things, so read on.
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. Matador has been a champion of artistic freedom, diversity and innovation throughout the label’s history. Matador has consistently been the delivery mechanism of high-quality, high-art music for decades. In all that time, they’ve stayed true to their indie roots. The label’s catalog and release schedule reflect the tastes of the company’s owners. Also, they have a longstanding commitment, 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. It is now a bustling powerhouse for artists such as Guerilla Toss and Factory Floor. This label has grown steadily and produces full-length albums for its ever-growing roster of artists. However, they also release 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. This label represents Kid Cudi, Run the Jewels, and other hip-hop and world artists, to mention a few. It’s run from a humble storefront in Williamsburg and 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.