Ah, The Six. Home of Drake, Crystal Castles, K-os, Broken Social Scene, and more. It’s not just the homeland of huge, platinum-level artists though. Toronto is a massive hotbed of music, with dozens of nightclubs and just over 100 record labels. With such a high number of Toronto record labels, how are you supposed to know which are worth your time for discovering the new sounds coming from Canada’s largest city? Here’s a roundup of a few you should know.
5 Toronto record labels you should get to know
This is an electronic, experimental, pop label aimed at completely changing the way record labels work. The founder Cameron Reed, who worked at Toronto’s other fan favorite record label Arts & Crafts Records, created Slow Release in 2015.
Reed says he’s “interested in artists with a lot of personality. Every song leaves an indelible impression of its author; something that only they could make. I’m interested in experimentation and naivety when it results in a hypnotic quality.”
RPM, or Revolutions Per Minute, is an offshoot of RPM.fm, and is the newest record label championing contemporary indigenous music releases.
The motivation behind the label? Founder Jarrett Martineau told Fader in an interview earlier this year, “When we started, there wasn’t anything out there focusing on indigenous music that wasn’t corny or draped in eagle feathers and dreamcatchers and stuff. The main motivation was to create something the community could get behind, and I think we’ve done that pretty effectively on the digital side.”
Arts & Crafts Records
Arts & Crafts Records is arguably Toronto’s most successful independent record label, touting itself as “a music-focused media and artist services company that offers information as an independent record label, management firm, merchandiser, and publisher worldwide.” This Toronto record label has 21 Junos under its belt.
Paper Bag Records
Paper Bag Records has been releasing records since the early 2000s. They’re a small independent label that also does artist management. Paper Bag focuses primarily on indie rock scene of Toronto, originally kicking off their endeavor with releases from Broken Social Scene.
Dine Alone Records
Dine Alone Records had humble beginnings, founded originally in Toronto in 2005, and has grown internationally. The label now has locations in Toronto, Austin, and Nashville. The founders has ties to the North American heavy music scene, and music published under this label is generally known to fall under the rock umbrella.