Looking for a record label in Nashville to potentially sign to?
Or just want to see some record labels in the state of Tennessee?
Well here are seven of Nashville city’s coolest independent labels.
We show who they are, what they do, and what types of acts they tend to sign.
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Thirty Tigers – A Nashville Record Label
Thirty Tigers is a Nashville-based distributor/label that was founded in 2002 by producer David Macias.
The whole operation started out of Macias' guest bedroom, and has since grown to have over 30 employees, making it one of the biggest independents on the scene.
Thirty Tigers has offices in L.A., New York, North Carolina and London. Their distribution and management services have fostered artists like Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Trampled by Turtles, The Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell and many more.
They’ve also recently expanded to include a publishing division in partnership with Wixen Music Publishing.
The company tends to sign and support Americana, Alt-Country, Bluegrass and singer-songwriters.
Third Man Records
Third Man Records is a label based in Detroit and Nashville – it was started by Jack White in Detroit in 2001.
The Nashville location is renowned for housing a record store, novelty lounge, photo studio, label offices and distribution center, and a live venue with a direct-to-acetate recording capability.
So, when you play the live venue, they can press a recording of the show directly to venue, as you play.
Third Man is based around vinyl, independence and innovation. They aim to bring tangibility and spontaneity back into the record business.
The label is a bit unique in the sense that it specializes in releasing vinyl singles.
Their releases are almost always produced by Jack White, and the labels main projects are White’s own projects – The White Strips, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather.
That said, the label has released music by dozens of artists, including The Supremes, The Shins, Pokey Lafarge, Father John Misty, First Aid Kit and Alabama Shakes.
The label will usually record music for indie-rock artists, indie-folk, alt-rock, alt-country, etc.
Dualtone Records Sign Musicians
The label was founded by Scott Robinson and Dan Herrington, and has been nominated for sixteen Grammy awards – wining four of them.
They specialize in folk, Americana and indie rock – releasing albums by The Lumineers, June Carter Cash, Guy Clark and more.
While they don’t necessarily own the back-catalog, they also release new recordings by Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson.
They’re a big deal.
Dualtone’s biggest claim to fame in recent years is releasing The Lumineers breakthrough album and their successful sophomore album – Cleopatra.
Infinity Cat Is A Recording Label In Nashville
Infinity Cat is an independent label founded in 2002 and based in Nashville.
The label specializes in punk and indie-rock bands, with a garage-y, fuzzed out sound.
Billboard Magazine listed Infinity Cat as one of the 50 best indie labels in America – they focus on showcasing all the cool bands coming out of Nashville that will never end up on the Grand Ole Opry stage or in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Some of the label’s most successful artists include JEFF the Brotherhood, Diarrhea Planet, Be Your Own Petand Daddy Issues.
The label has a Visitor’s Center retail store in their headquarters. If you’re curious about the label, go for a walk-through!
Tennessee Recording Company
The Nashville-based Tennessee Recording Company was started by Kyle Cook – the lead guitarist of Matchbox 20. Since its founding, it’s been on the cutting edge of music being released in Nashville.
Their biggest act is hip-hop artist Maurico.
Launching a hip-hop artist out of Nashville is a daring move to begin with. Cook has even bigger plans: “I’ll feel like we’ve really arrived as a label when we have a hit with a hip-hop artist, an Americana artist, and a punk rock band.”
Being one of the newer independents in Nashville, Tennessee Recording Company is a label to watch.
Low Country Sound
All the labels I’ve covered so far are truly independent labels. There are dozens of labels that are subsidiaries or imprints of major labels.
Low Country Sound is one of my favorites. The label is an imprint started by Nashville’s super-producer David Cobb. They are partnered with Elektra Records, who are a subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
See how that gets confusing?
Low Country Sound is home to some of America’s finest singer-songwriters. Their first signing was Alabaman soul singer, Anderson East.
They have also released music by Brandi Carlile, Brent Cobb, Rival Sons, Shooter Jennings and more.
Big Machine Label Group In Nashville Tennessee
Big Machine is an independent record label distributed by Universal Music Group.
There are several other labels under the Big Machine umbrella, but Big Machine is itself a label that releases country and pop acts.
In fact, they are home to some of the biggest names in all of pop-country. Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Reba and of course – Taylor Swift.
The label started with Swift. The company’s founder, Scot Borchetta, approached Swift and her family in the Bluebird Café and made an offer.
Since then, Swift has won several Grammys with the label, and the label has gone big-time, cherry picking huge artists from labels that folded (Nash Icon, Nash Next) and rock, pop and country artists new and old.
Nashville Record Labels Conclusion; And There’s More!
Because Nashville is home to offices of the biggest major labels in America, it is also home to the offices of many of these label’s subsidiaries and imprints partnered with these subsidiaries.
It's a confusing web of labels all tied together, one way or another.
The point is – Nashville has a great scene. There are independent labels catering to all kinds of independent artists, major label artists and more.
It also has a huge publishing scene – home to some of the biggest publishing houses in America.
If you get a chance, go check it out.
Nashville has long been known as America’s Music City.
If you’ve ever been, you know why.
Billboards are plastered around the entire city, which seems to be alive with music.
According to some of my friends who live in Nashville, the city experienced a bit of a downturn in the 2000s and around the 2008 recession as well.
But Nashville has changed over the years, and that doesn't just apply to its economic conditions.
For one thing, Nashville is no longer just about country music, though it never was just about country.
It’s become very popular in recent years for artists of all stripes, because it’s a real music city with tons of industry people.
L.A. and New York are so expensive that it’s become hard to imagine starting or maintaining a career there. Now, Nashville presents as a far more attractive option.
Along with this boom has come an influx of exciting independent record labels.
While Nashville is still home to many major labels, it’s the independent ones that are the most interesting.