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Tom Waits and Wilco are among the artists with releases on Anti.
Tom Waits and Wilco are among the artists with releases on Anti.

What's in a label?

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I've been hosting music programs on NCPR for over 30 years, and The Blue Note for all of that time. Listeners and friends ask me questions about artists all the time, and sometimes I can even answer their questions. But it occurred to me a while back that there's something else I've come to know something about over three decades: the music labels.

Granted, the music industry has been in the midst of a major transformation over the last 10 years, but some labels, particularly the smaller ones, have carved out important niches for themselves and the artists and audiences they serve.

Right now, I want to be sure you know about Anti, an innovative company headed by Andy Kaulkin. If you listen to The Blue Note, you regularly hear artists recorded on this label--if it sounds innovative and surprising, it's often an Anti- artist. Like who? Tom Waits. Bettye LaVette, Solomon Burke (later work that stepped beyond his traditional soul material). Below is an article from Utne about the music company.

More about other favorite labels coming soon to this space.

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