THE INDEPENDENT LABEL: WHAT'S AVAILABLE AND HOW TO GET IT
WASHINGTON LIBRARY ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE
SPOKANE, APRIL 24-27, 1991
UPDATED JULY, 1996
Reviews | Distributors' Catalogs | Labels
Independent Label Suppliers
American Record Guide: Classical Recordings and Music in Concert.
(4412 Braddock St./Cincinnati OH 45204. 6 issues/year. $36.) Classical
recordings and concert coverage, opinioniated and informed. Includes ads
and a directory of independent distributors. Indexes: Magazine Index,
Expanded Academic Index.
Dirty Linen. (P.O. Box 66600/Baltimore, MD/21239-6600. 6 issues/year, $22.00) Review journal for folk, traditional, and world music has a decided slant towards independent labels. Addresses included.
Fanfare: The Magazine for Serious Record Collectors. (P.O. Box
720/Tenafly NJ/07670. 6 issues/year. $34.)
Thoughtful coverage of the entire classical recordings scene, with special emphasis on independent releases in both reviews and ads. Indispensable.
Catalog and Resource Guide of Music by Women. (P.O. Box 3124/Durham
NC 27715. 919 383-8773. Free.)
The place to go for music by women. Mail-order retailer offers outstanding coverage of worldwide popular styles and some coverage of women as classical composers. Issued annually, with irregular updates; includes index.
Option. (1522-B Cloverfield Blvd./Santa Monica CA 90404. 6 issues/year.
If it's on an independent label, they'll review it. Issues include a dozen feature articles and 200+ brief reviews of releases in all styles (rap, industrial, avant-garde jazz, Cajun, 1930s Caribbean, classical, modern, and beyond). Include this in your regular reading and put it out for your public.
(418 Lasher Rd./Tivoli NY 12583. 914-756-2767.)
John Storm Roberts' indispensable catalog of world styles, especially African, Caribbean, and some Asian, with the most informative reviews anywhere. He also offers collection building services for libraries, and none can do it better.
Roots & Rhythm
Newsletter. (P.O. Box 837/El Cerrito CA 94530. 510-525-1494. E-mail:
Essential. This mail-order retailer’s bimonthly catalog contains hundreds of brief reviews grouped by genre. Strengths are American roots styles (folk, jazz, country, blues, gospel, rock & roll) and world music. Covers the best independent distributors: Bayside, City Hall, Harmonia Mundi, and Roundup.
Village Voice. (P.O. Box 1905.Marion OH 43306. 52 issues/year.
Robert Christgau's approximately monthly column, "Christgau's Consumer Guide," includes choice titles and label addresses. Also, a quarterly jazz and pop section that is the musical equivalent of the Voice Literary Supplement.
Albany Music Distributors. (Box 5011/Albany NY 12205-0011. 800-752-1951.)
If you are in search of labels that are widening the repertoire of recorded classical music, look here.
Allegro Imports (3434 S.E. Milwaukie Ave./Portland OR 97202. 800-288-2087.) Portland-based distributor offers a monthly catalog of new releases, including many domestic U.S. labels. Look here when you're in search of depth and variety.
Bayside Record Distributors.
Superior coverage of jazz, folk, blues, zydeco, Tex-Mex, and international styles; a good counterpart to City Hall for roots music coverage. Has been acquired by Tower Records.
City Hall Record Distributors. (25 Tiburon St./San Rafael CA 94901.
A good companion to Bayside for full coverage of the non-classical scene, and very useful for titles reviewed in Option and Village Voice. Distributed labels include Green Linnet and notable reissue labels ASV (nostalgia), Bear Family (country/western), Harlequin (pre-WWII Caribbean) Stash (jazz), and Storyville (blues).
Harmonia Mundi. (2037 Granville
Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90025. 310-478-1311. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
One of the largest families of classical and imported labels, as well as being a leader in the field of world music. Monthly updates to their annual master catalog show cover art, contents, biographical information on performers and artists, and itineraries of upcoming concert tours. Essential.
Koch International. Koch International.
(2 Tri-Harbor Court/Port Washington NY 11050-4617. 516-484-1000
Offers some of the most interesting small classical labels, notably Bridge, Chandos, CRI, and Northeastern.
(see Reviews, above.)
Unequaled for music by women.
Original Music. Original
Music. (see Reviews, above.)
Unequaled for African and Caribbean music.
Qualiton Imports. (24-02 40th
Avenue/Long Island City NY 11101. 718-937-8515.)
In conjunction with Allegro, Harmonia Mundi and Koch, rounds out coverage of the independent classical scene.
Rounder Label Group.
(One Camp St./Cambridge MA 02140. 617-661-6308. E-mail: info@ rounder.com)
Distributes Corason (Latin music), Flying Fish and Philo (folk), and Globestyle (world). Catalog is updated monthly .
Albany. (distributed by Albany Music Distributors; see above.)
Actively expanding the recorded repertoire with music by American and living composers and lesser known compositions by the rest.
Country Music Foundation. (4 Music Square East/Nashville TN 37203. 615-256-1639.)
Tasty editions of landmark recordings by American icons: Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Carter Family.
(distributed by Koch International; see above.)
This national treasure is being reissued on CD and cassette by the Smithsonian, with new cover art and typeset notes. The entire back catalog of recordings issued from 1948 to 1986 is searchable at their website (http://www.si.edu/folkways/) and can be ordered by contacting: Smithsonian/Folkways Mail Order (414 Hungerford Drive, suite 444/Rockville MD 20850. $10.95 per tape. ) Turnaround time is four to six weeks.
Green Linnet. (distributed by
Rounder; see above.)
The best of the Celtic folk specialists —with a new imprint, Xenophile, for West African, Latin, Caribbean, and Finnish music. http://www.grnlinnet.com/
by Harmonia Mundi; see above.)
British label with an emphasis on exquisite renditions and recordings of basics and classics (Bach, Brahms, Schubert) and slightly wider repertoire (Renaissance, twentieth-century) as well.
Naxos. (1165 Marlcrest, Suites E-F/Cherry
Hill NJ 08003. 609-751-4744.)
For classical music basic repertoire, and slightly beyond. Nicely performed, nicely priced.
New World. (701 Seventh
Ave./New York NY 10036. 212-302-0460.)
Originally a Bicentennial-year project to survey American music styles that were unavailable elsewhere, including jazz, ethnic, Native American, and American classical genres. Essential.
Northeastern. (distributed by Koch International; see above.)
Offers "alternatives to the same old masterpieces" by specializing in works by composers who are American, living, women, or all of the above.
Nonpareil reissue label for American popular music.
(distributed by Rounder; see above.)
For current and reissued folk, regional, and some international styles. An undisputed leader in the independent scene.
Reissues (including Frank Zappa), world music, and some alternative rock. Definitely a cut above.
(distributed by Koch International; see above.)
Specialists in African, Afro-Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Celtic styles.
Collection of Recordings. (distributed by Koch International (see above.)
Indispensable surveys of the American forms: jazz, country music, and musical theater, with exemplary accompanying notes.
Click here for hypertext lecture notes
Anna Seaberg, Music Librarian
King County Library System
Copyright © 1991, 1996 Anna E. Seaberg