It’s conventional wisdom nowadays that bands no longer need record labels to release music into the world. Still, it would be foolish to think that labels no longer matter. A label association can be a critical stamp of approval for potential new fans; the best labels build audiences’ trust to the point that they’ll support new artists even before hearing them. All of this is to say nothing, of course, of the distribution services labels can offer, and any financial or booking support they might also provide.
In recent years, many great local bands have been snatched up by labels around the country, but there remains an important and vital role that Bay Area labels play in incubating and championing local talent. This mixtape collects songs from fourteen of our favorite local labels. It’s by no means a comprehensive collection — exciting recent or upcoming releases on Melters, Voltaire, Icee Hot, Greenova, and the impressive reissue label Superior Viaduct all come to mind — but it offers a survey of many of the important companies working to put out great local music.
Take a listen to the mix and check out some record labels!
Founded in 2006, The Bay Bridged is a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization utilizing new media and presenting live events to support the San Francisco Bay Area’s indie rock, folk, and pop music communities.