There have been some massive changes in the dance music industry over the past few years, none greater than the surge the genre has taken towards the top of music charts. Major labels are well and truly aware of the domination of dance music on a global level thanks to crossover artists like David Guetta, Calvin Harris and the Swedish House Mafia.
While several majors and distributing houses may be cashing in on the genre’s fame and fortune over the last few years, DJ’s have been the central driving force fuelling this self-sustaining industry. There are no better tastemakers than the leading DJ’s of the world. If you are looking for red-hot DJ tips on where to find the best DJ friendly downloads, look no further. Here’s some of the most respected labels run by superstar DJ’s.
Founder: Armin Van Buuren
Genres: Trance, House, Progressive House
Notable Artists: Armin Van Buuren, W&W, John O’Callaghan, Markus Schulz, BT, Dash Berlin
Armada Music boasts of over 20 sub-labels run by some of the biggest artists in trance and progressive house like Marcus Schulz, Andy Moor, W&W and Paul Oakenfold. In their 10 years of operation they have been awarded the IDMA for best global record label on numerous occasions and have over a million subscribers on YouTube.
Genres: House, Progressive, Big Room
Notable Artists: Axwell, Thomas Gold, Dirty South, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Hard Rock Sofa
Founded by Axwell one third of the legendary Swedish House Mafia, Axtone began as an imprint label to release his own music. It has since grown into a globally renowned label, signing and releasing House music from a range of international artists. The Axtone brand has since expanded into publishing and artist management also.
DIM MAK RECORDS
Founder: Steve Aoki
Genres: Deep House, Drum N Bass, Dubstep, Electro House, Electronica, Hardcore, Hip Hop, Indie Dance, Progressive House, R&B, Techno, Trance, Rock/Pop
Notable Artists: Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Chris Lake, Borgore, Clockwork, Bloody Beetroots
Based in Los Angeles, California, Dim Mak Records is not just a record label but also a lifestyle brand with successful ventures in events and apparel all centred around an international music community. Known for their loud branding and playful sound, the label centres on banging electro and quirky electronic sub-genres best represented by Steve Aoki himself.
Genres: Progressive House, Electro House
Notable Artists: Avicii, Nicky Romero, Skrillex, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Ashley Wallbridge
The Le7els brand was launched off the back of one of the biggest dance tracks of all time. Avicii took on the world with his remake of the late Etta James classic song ‘Something’s Got A Hold On Me’ and has since released a small handful of progressive and melodic house anthems.
Genres: House, Tech House, Electro House, Progressive House
Notable Artists: deadmau5, Feed Me, Nom De Strip, Tommy Lee, Wolfgang Gartner, Tommy Trash
Mau5trap was originally founded as an independent label with the sole purpose of releasing the original work of deadmau5. The label profiled his world-renowned branding mirroring the mouse head imagery associated with the Canadian DJ’s moniker. Over the years, the label has become a staple for forward-thinking underground records. In June 2013, Mau5trap partnered with Capitol Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group.
Genres: Progressive House, Electro House
Notable Artists: Tiësto, Hardwell, R3hab, Nicky Romero, MOTi, Martin Garrix, Dyro, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Diplo
Established in 2010, Musical Freedom is home to Tiësto’s own releases as well as artists that have been hand chosen by Tiësto himself. The label boasts several gold and platinum records and resides at the top of the Beaport charts. Tiësto has also been known to collaborate with a lot of his own artists on the label and is huge for promoting upcoming talents through his personal promotional channels.
Genres: Dubstep, Electro House, Progressive House, Trap, Glitch-Hop, Drum N Bass, Moombahton, Hardcore Techno, Indie Dance
Notable Artists: Skrillex, Porter Robinson, Showtek, Zedd, Jack Beats
After a strange viral video series featuring the eyeliner wearing ‘Dubstepchild’, OWSLA was announced by Sonny ‘Skrillex’ Moore on the 17th of August, 2011. With Porter Robinson’s ‘Spitfire’ as the label’s first release, the standard was set with OWSLA consistently churning out Beatport chart toppers in a range of EDM genres since it’s launch.
Genres: Progressive House, Tech House, Techno, Electro House
Notable Artists: Hardwell, Dannic, Dyro, W&W, Firebeatz, Paris & Simo
Dutch DJ/producer Hardwell founded his very own imprint Revealed Recordings in 2010. Next to Hardwell’s own tracks and collaborations, Revealed Recordings also releases tracks that fly the flag for the Dutch sound that is ruling EDM on the big stage. Within a short period the Revealed Recordings has built up a distinct label profile in today’s dance scene and is rarely absent form the Beatport Top 10.
Founder: Steve Angello
Genres: House, Progressive House
Notable Artists: Steve Angello, AN21, Max Vangeli, Junior Sanchez, Tiësto, Laidback Luke, Thomas Gold
With a focus on family where ‘Size Matters’ Swedish House Mafia superstar and evident entrepreneur Steve Angello founded Size Records in 2003. With Beatport chart topping tracks such as Tommy Trash’s ‘Monkey In Love’ and Size Record’s 100th release the monster track ‘SLVR’ by Steve Angello himself and Russian brothers Matisse & Sadko, Size Records stands as a dance music power label.
Founder: Mark Knight
Genres: House, Tech-House, Progressive
Notable Artists: Benny Benassi, Chris Lake, David Guetta, Fedde Le Grand, Tiesto, deadmau5
Emerging in 2003, international DJ/producer Mark Knight and brother Stuart Knight started what was to be Toolroom Records from their family tool shed. Continually growing over the past ten years the label now houses a team of over 20 staff and has almost clocked 500 releases. Toolroom have firmly established their brand by the sound they believe in, a view that Mark and his brother both agree on as a matter of principle. They recently celebrated their 10th year by releasing ‘Toolroom Ten’ – a collection of releases reworked by current producers.
So if you've just started out learning how to be a DJ then these top 10 best record labels are a great place to start sourcing your EDM music.