The Top 10 Independent Record Labels You Should Know

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The magic of music lies not just in the hands of the artists who create it, but also in the independent record labels that nurture these talents, and carve a space for their voices to be heard. In the ever-evolving music industry, indie labels are the lifeblood of new sound and innovation. They work diligently, hand in hand with artists, often in a more personal and supportive environment than what big labels can offer. These independent record labels are revolutionizing the music industry, one tune at a time. Here are our top ten picks you should definitely know about:

RELATED: Who Are Musicians Who Started Their Own Record Labels?

10. Sub Pop Records

Notable Signees: Beach House, Weyes Blood

In the world of grunge and indie rock, Seattle-based Sub Pop Records is a powerhouse. Established in 1986, the label is well known for first signing Nirvana. Today, Sub Pop houses a plethora of artists including Beach House, and Fleet Foxes.

9. Ninja Tune

Notable Signees: Thundercat, DJ Boring, ODESZA

Ninja Tune is a London-based independent record label that has given us some of the most iconic electronic and experimental artists since its foundation in 1990. Notable artists include Bonobo, Amon Tobin, and Thundercat.

8. Rough Trade

Notable Signees: Julian Casablancas, The Alabama Shakes

One of the oldest independent record labels on this list, Rough Trade was formed in 1978 in London. Over the years, the label has signed a diverse range of artists from The Smiths to Antony and The Johnsons.

7. 4AD

Notable Signees: The National, HAWA

Another veteran of the independent record label scene, 4AD, started in 1980, is known for its eclectic artist roster ranging from The National to Grimes (the latter of whom is no longer a client). Their artists often deliver a unique and diverse range of music, challenging conventions and pushing boundaries.

6. Warp Records

Notable Signees: Danny Brown, Aphex Twin, Yves Tumor

Founded in 1989, Warp Records is another independent record label that emphasizes electronic and experimental music. From Aphex Twin to Boards of Canada, Warp is a home for music that stands outside of the mainstream.

5. Domino Recording Co

Notable Signees: Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand

Dominic Recording Co, more commonly known as Domino, is a stalwart in the independent record label scene. Since its establishment in 1993, Domino has signed indie greats like Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand.

4. Matador Records

Notable Signees: King Krule, Queens of the Stone Age

Founded in 1989, Matador Records is based in New York City and has developed a reputation for its incredible roster of indie rock artists. With names like Pavement, Interpol, and Queens of the Stone Age, it's hard not to pay attention to Matador.

3. Merge Records

Notable Signees: Neutral Milk Hotel, The New Pornographers

Established in 1989 by Superchunk's Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance, Merge Records represents a number of critically acclaimed indie rock and pop acts such as Arcade Fire and Neutral Milk Hotel.

2. XL Recordings

Notable Signees: Adele, FKA Twigs, Radiohead, M.I.A., Sampha

XL Recordings, a British independent record label founded in 1989, has a knack for picking out talents who go on to become worldwide phenomena, such as Adele and Radiohead. The label has an eclectic mix of artists, each bringing something truly unique to the table.

1. Glassnote Records

Notable Signees: Mumford & Sons, Phoenix, Two Door Cinema Club

At the top of our list is Glassnote Records. Founded in 2007 by Daniel Glass, this independent record label has earned significant recognition in a short span of time. With an artist roster featuring Mumford & Sons, Childish Gambino, and Phoenix, Glassnote has positioned itself at the forefront of the independent music industry.

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