Unlike the big music industry markets of Los Angeles, New York City and Nashville there isn’t much of a major label presence in the Bay Area. The Bay Area is a do-it-yourself artist/ musician and independent (indie) record label market. With technology becoming a bigger and bigger part of the music industry in addition to making it a level playing field, the do-it-yourself musicians are doing it on their own or not looking to the majors but the indies for help.
With the success of Fantasy Records (Creedance Clearwater Revival, recorded Carlos Santana, Green Day) whose origins can be traced back to San Francisco in 1949, to the punk indie labels Lookout Records and Fat Wreck Chords from the ‘80s and ‘90s to the EDM labels Temple Music Group and Dirtybird Records of the 2000s, the Bay Area has a rich history of indie labels. There are many Bay Area indie labels that specialize in different genres and niche music. Independent record labels can also offer an assortment of services from recording and producing to marketing, promoting, digital and online services, distribution, publishing, sync licensing, A & R services and other musicians and music industry contacts.
With too many indie records labels in the Bay Area to list, here are some links to a long list of them.
Earlier this year, there was the first annual Bay Area Record Label Fair (B.A.R.F) held at Thee Parkside that showcased 21 record labels as well as artists from these labels played live sets. These type of festivals and fairs bring awareness to the Bay Area record labels and in the process help to build a larger and stronger Bay Area music community. The Bay Area also has an ample selection of music industry schools and universities and some of these students are taking what they learn from these schools and turning around and starting their own indie labels in the Bay Area in order to release their and their fellow students' music. For musicians who have gotten to a point in their musical career on their own and are interested in getting to the next level, submitting your music to a Bay Area independent record label is definitely an option to consider.