Since its inception on Berewick Street in 2011, the Independent Label Market has hosted over 50 fairs globally, bringing together over 400 of the world’s independent record labels from London to LA, and from Berlin to Barcelona.
In a world of online delivery and streaming services, the ILM has helped reinforce the value of community amongst independent labels, while offering fans the opportunity to buy records directly from some of their favorite labels and artists. With limited-edition presses, live DJ sets, and being able to speak to the brains behind the brands, ILM serves up a unique melting pot for music lovers — one we’re proud to support at Discogs.
Now at their new London home of Coal Drops Yard, ILM is going from strength to strength in the UK, hosting their next market July 13. Ahead of this, Independent Label Market director Joe Daniel took some time to chat with us about all things ILM past, present, and future!
Tell us a little about the idea behind the first ILM in 2011 and what you set out to achieve?
The idea to start with was to create a space for people who were fans of certain labels where they could meet and chat directly to the label bosses, and those who knew the records most intimately. The same idea as when you go to a farmer’s market, and the person who made the bread/cheese/cake/apple juice can tell you everything about it.
Did you ever envision that you’d be here now, and that the ILM would have this kind of impact?
Not at all, it was only meant to be a one-off. We were lucky that the first one went well, and very quickly people got in touch from all over wanting to help us set up similar events in other places. We’ve now done over 60 markets in 10 different countries.
What’s a personal highlight of ILM for you over the years?
We did a limited vinyl charity release of 10 records called “Vinyl For Syria.” That was really nice, a lot of great artists got involved, and The Vinyl Factory let us go all out on some beautiful gold-leaf, die-cut, hand-numbered sleeves, and heavyweight, etched, one-sided vinyl.
Are there any other releases dropped specifically for ILM that stand out for you?
Portishead recorded an exclusive for the market, which Jimmy Fallon gave a shout out after their performance on his show. Also XL did one single vinyl copy of a Radiohead Jamie XX remix that was auctioned off at the market. It’s not available digitally either, so there is literally just one person who has it.
With a natural growth in online sales, how important do you think it is for labels to maintain visibility at a shop-fronted level?
I think it’s nice to keep a hand in the physical world. Creating playlists and following algorithms on your devices is a great way to discover new music, and it’s so handy to have so much catalog right there in your pocket. But one of the nice things about shopping for records is the social aspect, hanging out with your friends, or chatting to the person behind the counter. Also I think labels and fans alike enjoy creating artifacts that represent the music alongside the digital versions. It’s nice to take something home and keep it.
With London going from strength to strength, what do you see for the next eight years of ILM?
Hopefully more of the same, in more places. It’s great to have the opportunity to support such a lot of fantastic independent labels, and give them a platform to sell the records produced by such amazing artists.
Huge thanks to Joe for taking the time out, and if you’re in London this Saturday, be sure to visit Kings Cross!