Is it dumb to love a label and its culture?

I’m just a huge fan of Mad Decent and its culture. Just really different and always tries something new. I feel like I like it and the idea of it, too much.

Do you feel me?

It’s a good question, one that is ripe for discussion.

One of my favorite labels is Kitsuné – I enjoy the vast majority of the artists they sign, and it’s no coincidence that they also happen to make clothing. They recognize that their listeners have a certain style they can tap into. The cynical perspective is to say they’re manipulating sheep into buying a lifestyle, but the fact of the matter is that music correlates to more than just what we listen to, much the same as any other serious passion in life.

One of the things I’ve come to love about electronica as a whole is that it has developed so many flavors and niches to accommodate the diversity of its listeners. It isn’t just about trance, techno, and house any more. Each new subgenre isn’t just the product of some marketing shill desperately trying to differentiate a new artist. It is rare that I ever encounter Dutch house that I enjoy, but I can never get enough of French house. Some days I want epic trance, but others only psy trance will suffice.

Personally, I listen to electronica because it makes me feel a certain way – it fuels my imagination in specific ways that I want. The aesthetic and mystique of a song or an artist are every bit a part of that. Tracks do not exist in a vacuum – they have names, they frequently come packaged in albums, they’re delivered in concerts and music videos. The execution of this whole package is frequently beyond the talent of an individual artist, and comes down to the label to fill in the blanks. Some labels fail miserably at this, and it is the quintessential flaw of the major labels; they frequently homogenize and crush the individuality of their artists. The great labels bring together artists into something that is greater than the sum of their parts.

There is absolutely no shame in loving a label. For many artists, they provide aesthetics through designers, structure through management, polish through producers, and exposure through marketing. To hate any of these things is ignorant of the challenges of commercial viability. I, for one, am grateful that I don’t have to loathe the labels my favorite artists are signed to. I can readily see the ways many labels in EDM are advancing the industry, and that is a beautiful thing.