In 2018, we witnessed an immense presence of independent dance labels. Though the genre’s always had strong ties to independent labels, this year felt like a full-on reinvigoration of the independent label ethos of dance music. Long-standing labels like Mad Decent and Anjunabeats continued their domination, but newer labels also managed to make their mark on the sounds of the year.
bitbird continued to grow throughout the year, San Holo’s album1 was both highly anticipated and well-received, peaking at number 7 on the Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart and DROELOE also released a killer EP titled The Choice We Face This Year.
Anjunabeats’ star players made a strong showing, as always: Above & Beyond’s album Common Ground charted at number 3, and we got some major new releases from Ilan Bluestone and Mat Zo. One particularly notable release was Andrew Bayer’s In My Last Life, an enormous two-disc album featuring both the full-length songs and the radio edits.
Slander and NGHTMRE also created their own label, Gud Vibrations, and secured freshman trio WAVEDASH as their first artist. For now, no full-length released have come from Gud Vibrations, but we’re certain that we’ll see a stronger presence as the label gets its bearings in 2019.
Monstercat’s decision to divide its brand into two sub-brands, Instinct and Uncaged, really paid off for the label this year. They continue to expand their presence at live events, including a stage takeover at Tomorrowland and a cart at EDC Las Vegas. They’ve managed to make huge gains, especially with their reach further into the global marketplace.
Of course, there are a ton of other achievements made by independent labels this year that we could mention, but a comprehensive overview would be difficult to accomplish. With so many exciting happenings in the world of independent labels, it’s hard to predict what we can expect in 2019.
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