Download: Mixtape: New Releases from Some of the Bay Area’s Best Record Labels (Podcast #393)
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The post first ran on KQED.org.
A record label may not be a necessity for a musician in 2016, considering the remarkable ease with which anyone can record an album and put it out into the world, and its benefits may not be obvious to some, given the precarious state of the music industry as a whole. Still, amidst the sea of countless new releases every week, there’s undeniable value in the stamp of approval from a trusted label, and plenty of labels offer much more than a helpful co-sign. By handling the logistics of releasing, distributing and promoting albums, good labels can help artists actually focus on making and performing music, the side of the music business that most musicians prefer.
Regardless of how necessary record labels might seem, the fact is that the Bay Area is full of exciting and vital ones. The venerable Slumberland Records is the oldest label included in this mix. Over 25 years in, the Slumberland team continues to elevate top-notch indie pop, including locals like Tony Molina and Terry Malts. Most of the inclusions in this mixtape, however, are much younger, Wave Dweller Records, for example, only launched within the last year. Over half of the labels here were founded by talented local musicians, including Death Records, Broke Hatre Records, and others, and all of them have a passion for championing great music.
This mix collects music from thirteen of our favorite record labels. If you like what you hear, you’ll definitely want to check out the next installment of the Bay Area Record Fair on November 6 at the Swedish American Hall. With over 30 labels expected to be in attendance, it should be a great chance to survey local labels all in one place.