(bron: womex)

Since our first WOMEX Top Label Award in 2006, the record label business has gone through many transformations, some exciting and some undesirable. The market has never been more challenging as it stands today, and to tackle this we encourage inclusiveness. Starting last year, on our 25th Anniversary, we wish to celebrate the independent recording world, the music label business and the media that brings the artists to the community as a whole, and not just as one particular winner.

The monthly playlist charts that we receive from our partners World Music Charts Europe and Transglobal World Music Chart who work with more than 100 journalists and broadcasters worldwide enable us to compile this list of Top 20 Labels of the Year. The eligible period for this year’s list was 9/2019 to 8/2020.

How do we qualify this list?
We compile the chart placing the independent labels in creative production. Counting the work of individual companies and their A&R teams, two or more labels in the same overall organisation/company are added together. Different, autonomous A&R teams from different company locations are counted separately.

World Music Charts | Transglobal World Music Chart

Here are the Top 20 independent labels:

  • Glitterbeat (Germany)
  • Fono Records (Hungary)
  • Nordic Notes / CPL Music (Germany)
  • Homerecords.be (Belgium)
  • World Music Network / Riverboat (UK)
  • Kirkelig Kulturverksted (Norway)
  • Buda Musique (France)
  • ARC Music (UK)
  • Smithsonian Folkways Recording (USA)
  • Cooking Vinyl (UK)
  • Real World Records (UK)
  • Les Disques Bongo Joe (Switzerland)
  • Ajabu! (Sweden)
  • ACT Music (Germany)
  • Stonetree Records (Canada)
  • Wrasse Records (UK)
  • Contre-Jour (Belgium)
  • Galileo MC (Spain/Germany)
  • Sterns Music (UK)
  • Cumbancha (USA)