Thanks to our sponsors

How Indie Labels Survived the Record Biz Apocalypse

#sxsw #IndieSurvived

Independent record labels are a volatile proposition, relying on the taste and business prowess of their proprietors, and based on artists who can be fickle if not downright perverse. Add in the recent losses in sales of recorded music, and people start using words like 'apocalypse' and 'bloodbath.' So it may be counterintuitive to consider stable, successful labels with long track records. Learn what it takes to develop and maintain the creative and commercial foundations of a great indie label as they create outposts in today's culture.



Label manager for Fairfax Recordings, an indie run out of the space that was once the legendary Sound City Studios in sunny Van Nuys, CA. Past includes stints at MySpace (Records), Sub Pop (as head of A&R) & running the label for The Get Up Kids, & extensive time as a consultant & artist manager through my firm Chords of Fame. Some current/prior projects include Isobel Campbell (Ballad of the Broken Seas album w/ Mark Lanegan), Patrick Park, Forward Russia!, Imperial Teen, Matt Pryor, Pageants (ex-Avi Buffalo), Cardinal/Eric Matthews, & The Belles. Have been A&R over the years for Luna, Low, Damien Jurado, Pernice Brothers, Sebadoh, Saint Etienne, BRONCHO & The Young Evils. Notable for once having to get William Reid from the Jesus & Mary Chain out of jail. You can talk to me any time about vinyl collecting.

Matthew Kaplan Ent Atty Matthew T Kaplan Esq

Matthew Kaplan has been independently practicing entertainment law since 1990. During the past twenty plus years Mr. Kaplan has focused much of his attention on the indie artists and labels of the world, making sure that they are not taken advantage of. Artist clients have included: Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes/Monsters Of Folk, Ratatat, Avi Buffalo, Titus Andronicus, Real Estate, JEFF The Brotherhood, Oneohtrix Point Never, Vaselines, Autolux, Oh No Oh My, Ted Leo, Supercute! and Simian Mobile Disco. Label clients have included: Barsuk, Carpark/Paw Tracks/Acute, Jade Tree, Polyvinyl, Team Love, Dovecote, Fairfax and Bar/None. In addition to the foregoing, Mr. Kaplan has also done a smattering of book publishing, film and television related activities and fashion models. Matthew also proudly sits on the Board Of Directors of Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, a 501C3 nonprofit charity provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.

Josh Rosenfeld Barsuk Records

Pat Carr Dir Infectious Music

Director of Infectious music, home to alt-j, Local Natives, The temper trap, as well as new signing These New puritans who's third album due for an early Summer release and brand new noiseniks Drenge.

Chris Swanson Dead Oceans/Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian

Chris Swanson is a founder of the American independent record labels Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian, as well as distribution group SC Distribution, publishing company SC Publishing, and management company Fort William Artist Management, all operated primarily out of Bloomington, Indiana, with satellite offices in New York City, London and Austin. These labels are home to such diverse acts as Bon Iver, Antony & the Johnsons, Yeasayer, comedian Tig Notaro, The Tallest Man on Earth, Jens Lekman, Dinosaur Jr., The War on Drugs, Foxygen, Phosphorescent, The Besnard Lakes, Okkervil River and Black Mountain, to name a few.