THE BLOG

Why Small Record Labels Are the Bread and (Black) Butter of Music

13/06/2013 22:01 BST | Updated 10/08/2013 10:12 BST

Last week, at an event at 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister pledged to provide further backing for small businesses because of the valuable contribution they make to the economy. It got me thinking about one sector in particular: the music industry, and the small record labels who are composing a fresh beat with the much-needed sound of the future.

One such company boosting our musical economy is Black Butter Records, who celebrated their 3rd birthday with an all night showcase of their game-changing signings.

Founders Ollywood, Henry Village and Joe Gossa were managing just a few acts when they decided they 'wanted a platform to promote their music' and that's when BB 'then took on a life of it's own'.

'When we started in 2010, Dance music was dominated by Dubstep, big bone-crushing bass and stupid noises, House was limp and tired and Pop was the same old regurgitated nonsense,' Ollie told me. 'There was a perfect vacuum for music with soul and fresh vibes to fill.'

'Our label is like a family and that makes it easier for us to take risks... we just happened to be in the right time and the right place.'

On Saturday night the right place to be was Oval Space in the heart of Bethnal Green, where a winding snake of eager guests were ready to succumb to the whomping bass and electronic overload of P Funk & M Boogie, MANIK, Yasmin, Justin Martin, DJ EZ, Gorgon City, Woz and chart-toppers Rudimental.

But they weren't all East London scenesters wearing ironic T-shirts, unnecessary horn-rimmed frames and drinking out of jars. The suited and booted threw shapes in harmony with vest-wearing hipsters and snapbacked wideboys, turning the urban art space into a melting pot of musical redemption.

Coming up for air from the hypnotic drops and symphonic re-boots, I chatted to M Boogie (minus P Funk) about just why small record labels are the heart and soul of the industry.

'If it wasn't for the independents, the music scene wouldn't be what it is, in the UK especially,' the DJ/producer enthused. 'Now that House has become popular with people who didn't use to like it, I think small labels have done wonders for that.'

'Rudimental have come through Black Butter the same way Disclosure have come out through PMR, so small labels is where it's at.'

Too true, for both acts saw their debut LPs soar to the top of the UK album chart thanks to the creative freedom and support from their small labels with major heart. And clearly Black Butter are living up to their 'Spread Love' tagline as a wider demographic are embracing EDM in a way that hasn't been seen since the early '90s.

'It's amazing to see so much good music is currently getting the love it deserves,' Ollie said. 'The old gatekeepers don't have the stranglehold on people's taste that they once did.'

So while big things continue to come from small beginnings, here's hoping the reign of independent labels like Black Butter Records never ends.