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. Since our 25th Anniversary in 2019, 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 20 Top Labels of the Year. The eligible period for this year’s list was 8/2022 to 7/2023.
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.
Here are the 20 Top independent labels:
- Glitterbeat Records (Germany)
- World Circuit (UK)
- Nordic Notes / CPL Music (Germany)
- Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (USA)
- Ajabu! (Sweden/Germany)
- Segell Microscopi (Spain)
- Cumbancha (USA)
- Les Disques Bongo Joe (Switzerland)
- Buda Musique (France)
- Real World Records (UK)
- ARC Music (UK)
- One World Records (Denmark)
- Nø Førmat! (France)
- Zephyrus Records (Belgium)
- Analog Africa (Germany)
- Snail Records (The Netherlands)
- Outhere Records (Germany)
- Crammed Discs (Belgium)
- Fonó (Hungary)
- Six Degrees Records (USA)