Independent labels: a work in progress

Panorama, Labels

A series of articles aiming to highlight a musical culture that is as dynamic as it is complex.

Julie Henoch - 2019-05-02
Independent labels: a work in progress - ©Julie Henoch
©Julie Henoch

In this dossier, I attempt to cover the independent record label situation in Switzerland, (« indé » for the francophones and « indie » for everyone else). 

I discovered that the indie scene is much more a musical culture in its own right with its own oral history, rather than an established infrastructure coming from a clearly defined background. Along the way, I randomly met a vast amount of people involved in the scene, though certainly not every single player considering the large number of musical protagonists in our very small territory. Together we discussed the major economic, artistic and social problems, but also the solutions emerging from the global music market where everything is moving so fast, not to mention the issues concerning an immensely creative and reactive sector divided by strong linguistic boundaries.

Attempting to sum up this scene which mixes passion (verging on the religious zeal), entrepreneurial spirit, as well as deep financial disinterestedness, and which has as many different functions as points of view, was a not exercise for the faint-hearted!

For starters, it was important to make choices. Firstly, to establish a kind of field investigation. Then, above all, to privilege the words of the music makers: musicians, label bosses and distributors - often all three at the same time – depending on the day, the vibe and the availablity. Sometimes it was a case of just showing up on the off chance. So here are the first series of articles of a dossier that will demand regular updates in order to eventually become the full spectrum that it deserves to be.