NPR logo Poll: Do Record Labels Matter?

Poll: Do Record Labels Matter?

I was trying to search my iTunes library for all the music I owned on the Merge Records label when it hit me: Record-label data isn't listed in iTunes, which means I was up the creek. There was no easy way I could look at a song or album and know who put it out. I found this depressing.

For any given song in my iTunes library, I could tell you the bit rate, the release date, the number of times I played it and the last time I skipped over it, but not the label that put it out. It's practically criminal.

In the past, record labels were often the second biggest factor in deciding whether I'd buy a record. Only the artwork mattered more when I knew nothing else about an album. So, now that we buy fewer tangible bits of music, I've got a survey for you:

Quizzes by

In the comments section, tell us which labels you care about most, or the ones you trust. Tell us about the labels you once trusted, but that have since lost their vision, or about the ones that seemed adrift but now feel vital. When a band goes from small label to big label, are they selling out?

Check out Carrie Brownstein's blog post on record labels, too. And, of course, on this week's edition of All Songs Considered, we talk about Kill Rock Stars, Anti, Sire, Sub Pop, Jagjaguawar and more of our favorite labels.