The term “major label” is often used disparagingly–meant to accuse the music industry of being run by corporate fat-cats. Indeed, there are only three majors left, but if you look at all the fantastic music they’ve put out, you realise how many bands and artists may never have gained the recognition they deserved if it weren’t for these companies. Running with the notion that a big label is no bad thing, you could also say that EDM has its own major label, and that label is Armada.
The company now owns nearly 30 labels, but far from being big-business taking control of a genre, Armada has a solid history of helping labels to flourish while allowing them to retain their creative freedom. Dance music is traditionally a very hard business to stay afloat in, and some of our favourite labels are still around thanks to Armin Van Burren, Maykel Piron and David Lewis–“ArMaDa” being an amalgamation of the first names of the founders–and as the label reaches its 10th anniversary, these three men can be very proud of what they’ve achieved. We could go on for ages about their solid and ethical business practices in an industry which is often anything but, their drive and determination to stay at the top of an industry which is tough to survive in, and of course the massive reach of their content, from ASOT live shows to their many timeless releases. But surely it’s better to simply immerse yourself in the reason Armada exists in the first place–great music, a selection of which is now available in the shape of 10 Years Of Armada.
Even the casual dance music fan can see the scope of what Armada have achieved simply by looking at the track list, never mind actually listening to it. There are classics from Motorcycle, Binary Finary, The Thrillseekers, Signum, Pulser and Ransom; newer material–some of which is already entering classic territory–from Omnia & Ira, Orjan Nilsen, W&W, and of course Armin himself. While this would be a great intro to EDM for the newcomer, it’s great listening even for someone who’s been into dance music for 15 years. Grab a copy now, and once you’ve finished listening, just imagine what the next ten years will hold.