Legendary electronic/dance DJ Tiësto founded Dutch label Black Hole Recordings in 1997. Originally recording music for sub-label Trashcan, Tiësto decided (with the help of Trachcan founder Arny) to begin his own parent label. Black Hole is perhaps most famous for releasing Tiësto’s “Magik” series, but through the years has also stamped its name on influential releases from Ferry Corsten, Armin van Buuren, Johan Gielen and more. Black Hole is home to many other sub-labels, who've collectively put out singles and mixes by these heavy-hitting artists:
A name like Ghostly is apt for a record label whose output is as varied and shapeshifting as that of Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Ghostly International. Ghostly was founded in 1999, when Sam Valenti IV met Matthew Dear at a house party and they bonded over a shared love of electronic music, especially Detroit Techno. They released Dear’s “Hands Up for Detroit” 12-inch shortly thereafter, and Ghostly has grown ever since.
The two branched out after that, incorporating Italo Disco and various elements of other sub-genres into their eclectic roster, not to mention things non-musical: design, visual art, and technology such as apps and other sound-related tools. Musically, Ghostly is divided two ways: they release “avant-pop,” music that challenges and experiments with pop's existing boundaries by infusing it with new and exciting sounds, while Spectral Sound is their dance music imprint.
“To define Ghostly International,” notes their website, “would only be to limit it.” They’re right—today, Ghostly’s roster features too broad a variety of musical acts and artists to pigeonhole them with words. It’s better to listen to some of their hottest new acts (which you can find on the Rdio Ghostly International label page) like Com Truise, Dabrye or Gold Panda, to get a taste of what Ghostly are up to lately.
Follow Ghostly International on Rdio to keep up with all things avant-pop, and check out their outstanding influencer playlist, 2011 Cuts by SV4, curated by Sam Valenti IV himself. As one of Rdio's influencers, discover Ghostly’s staff picks and more from their roster below.
In 1980, a young punk band in Washington, D.C. named the Teen Idles, broke up. Unsure what to do with their leftover band fund, they decided to self-release a record; it was the Minor Disturbance EP, and it was Dischord Records #1. A year later, two of the young men from the Teen Idles, Ian Mackaye and Jeff Nelson, were settled in a new bungalow-style house in Arlington, Virginia, and were putting out records by fellow Washington punk bands S.O.A., Government Issue, Youth Brigade, and Mackaye and Nelson’s own new group, Minor Threat.
Despite hard times along the way - finding distribution, pressing records on their own dime - the DIY record label survives today. Dischord Records retains the same ethos they’ve always had, limiting exorbitant scalping by keeping all of their releases in print, and releasing new records by deserving underground bands every year. Some of the world’s most legendary hardcore has been released by Dischord, as evidenced below.
French indie label Because Music has headquarters in Paris, a perfect fit for their music, which is as progressive, sleek and sophisticated as the city itself. Founded in 2006 by Emmanuel De Buretel (a former Director of Virgin Publishing, chosen by Richard Branson himself), the label began by releasing Amadou & Mariam’s Dimanche à Bamako before signing established veterans and up-and-comers, such as Justice and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Nowadays, Because is home to an eclectic variety of artists from all kinds of genres. Whether it’s hip-hop, house, nu-rave, afro-pop or otherwise, Because has maintained a refined taste in exciting new artists, especially in France, where they release records by the likes of the heavy-hitting names below.
The Delicious Vinyl story goes something like this: two Los Angeles DJs with similarly excellent taste start a label and find immediate success. During the beginning, Delicious Vinyl was home of Tone Loc, Young MC, and Def Jef. Delicious Vinyl didn’t limit itself from there—they release dancehall reggae, dance music, Spanish rap, and later helped elevate West Coast rap to minds across the country. Almost 25 years later, Delicious Vinyl maintains its legacy in it’s catalog and new projects.
So find your favorite Delicious Vinyl albums, add them to your collection, hit play and “Bust a Move”.
Short for Kaiserdamm 7, the original address of their Berlin office, Germany’s !K7 and !K7 Records have been at the forefront of independent electronic music for over 25 years.
First known for !K7 Records’ innovative DJ Kicks albums, this was one of the first compilation series that asked well-known underground DJs to create mixes emphasizing their signature sound while sharing their unique musical influences. Dozens of artists, including Kruder & Dorfmeister, Carl Craig and Chromeo stepped up to the challenge, blending and showcasing tracks that were often rare, previously unavailable, or only released on limited vinyl pressing. Simultaneously, the label championed individual artist releases, including critically acclaimed acts such as Matthew Herbert, Tosca, A Guy Called Gerald, Swayzak and Jimmy Edgar.
A few record store clerks and a producer set out to create a music label of their own. Over twenty years later, their creation, Warp Records, not only left an indelible impression on electronic music but also brought about the creation of BAFTA-winning Warp Films and bleep.com, an online music and merch store. If you’d like to learn more about the label, read about Warp in the Labels Unlimited series. Listen to and add these classic Warp artists to your Collection, Queue and playlists.
Young Andre “Dr. Dre” Young teamed up with Marion “Suge” Knight Jr. in the early 90’s to form Death Row Records. Together, they released early albums from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog and 2pac—and the rest of the Death Row Records’ story is long and involved. Although it went through some turbulent times, Death Row remains influential and iconic in its shaping of rap and west coast hip-hop.
Get Physical’s founders have seen the music industry’s inner workings from every angle. Of its founders, Booka Shade, M.A.N.D.Y and DJ T. are accomplished in an impressive list of roles: DJ, Producer, club operator and Label owner, to name a few. It’s not difficult to see how this team was able to put together a collective of artists known for their impact on electronic music, and their passion for creating tracks to “hit the nerve of the boiling dance floor.” Designed to get you dancing, dive into Get Physical’s catalog.
Rdio is a social jukebox with over 20 million songs to discover, play, and share. Play what you want, when you want, or turn on a station for a perfect mix of songs. Listen anywhere — the web, your phone, even offline — and follow friends and artists to see what they’re playing.