Prompt for Blog Response Due on 2/14

Posted: February 6, 2011 in Blog Prompts

Investigate a small, independent recording company (of which there are tens of thousands throughout the United States and the world). Pick one from the list below, or get your own approved by me—It can’t be one of the big five labels. In addition, you can choose an independent radio station—if you can find one! Visit its Web site, and try to proceed through the five steps of the critical process:

1. Description. What kind of music does this label specialize in?Is the label limited to only one genre?What are some of the groups that the label produces?Where and how does the label identify its musical artists? How does the label describe itself? How does the label distribute its recordings to consumers?

2. Analysis. Look at the variety of groups that the label produces. What kind of fan is the label trying to target?How does this label promote its artists and get a recording to the consumer? What obstacles does the label face in popularizing its artists? Is the label fiercely independent, or is its goal to sell to a major label?Is the label struggling, or is it financially viable?

3. Interpretation. From what you’ve gathered so far from your research, what major problems do independent recording labels face? Do you see independent labels overcoming these problems? How?

4. Evaluation. What is the value of small independent recording companies to the entire recording industry What would be different about the recording industry as a whole if small independent labels didn’ t exist? Add other questions and information as you go along.

5. Engagement. Now that you know about indies, give some a try. Sample independent label artists on Web sites such as,,, etc. Better yet, buy some music, and THEN request that local radio stations play a quality local, independent artists so that other people can hear them. Call one of the stations you listen to, and ask if they will play a song for you. In your conclusion, discuss if you were successful in getting your song on the airwaves. Did anyone play your music? Were you? From this experience, what do you think about the state of music today?

THIS SHOULD BE A PROFILE OF THE LABEL that discusses your findings in the steps above. It will require internet research, so get started early.

Indie Labels:

1. Jagjaguwar

2. TVT/The Orchard

3. Victory

4. Matador

5. Koch

6. Rap-a-lot

7. Saddle Creek

8. Sub Pop

9. Rykodisc

10. Rhymesayers

11. Viper Records

12. Epitaph

13. Secretly Canadian

14. Dead Oceans

15. Merge

Example on getting started:

Step one: Go to Victory Records’ artist page:

Step two: Watch a video from one of the artists:

Step three:  Look up artists on Youtube:

Step four: Answer: What kind of genres does the label represent? What kind of fan do you think they’re trying to get?


Second Example:

Step one: Go to Sub Pop’s artist page:

Step two/three: Find a video or look up an artist on Youtube:

Afghan Whigs:

Step four: Answer: What kind of genres does the label represent? What kind of fan do you think they’re trying to get?


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