From Drake and Flying Lotus to James Murphy, Metallica, Damon Albarn and Chvrches
Lee Wakefield

12:51 23rd April 2014

There are many reasons as to why record labels owned by musicians are incredible - for one, you know that the artist has complete creative control and has created the album that they desire.

If they boast a bulging roster, it's also an exciting sneak peek at what they've been championing, a rare glimpse at what has been making them tick, which we perhaps wouldn't otherwise have.

Furthermore, it's often hard not to be impressed with the results, as the standard is often remarkably high. Check out the inspirational artists blazing a trail for those wanting to do things a little differently.

  • MS MR - Neon Gold: The electro-pop duo may have only formed the label in 2008, but in their short life they've dropped a mighty impressive run of ltd edition 7inch singles by the likes of Haim, Chvrches, Ellie Goulding, Icona Pop, Foxes, Wolf Gang, Passion Pit and many more. Good for them.

  • Eminem - Shady Records: After the insane success of his debut album, Eminem and his manager Paul Rosenberg formed Shady Records in 1999. In true Shady fashion, the label has experienced its fair share of feuds and controversy, but that hasn't stopped them from dropping massive records from folk like Obie Trice, D12, Yelawolf and 50 Cent.

  • James Murphy - DFA: Coffee maker, film maker, actor, producer, remix king, frontman, label owner. Is there anything that James Murphy can't do? We don't think so. Formed with friends Tim Goldsworthy and Jonathan Galkin, the iconic label were formed before LCD Soundsystem found fame. It started with a 12" of The Rapture's 'House Of Jealous Lovers', before going on to define the sound of modern dance-rock by dropping essential records from Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Hercules And Love Affair, Factory Floor, Liquid Liquid, Holy Ghost, The 2 Bears, Shit Robot and way more.

  • Jack White - Third Man: A modern day birthplace for blues, folk, garage rock and anything with raw soul, White formed Third Man in Detroit in 2001. It can now be found in Tennesse where it's an office, studio, record store and hub for music lovers. As well as releasing material from White's own myriad projects, they've also unleashed records by the likes of Laura Marling, Willie Nelson, Seasick Steve, Johnny Cash, The Kills, The Shins, Beck...and even Conan O'Brien and Insane Clown Posse.

  • Jay Z - Roc Nation: Just one part of The Hov's globe-dominating empire, Roc Nation plays host to Rita Ora, J Cole, Willow Smith and more. They also play management to everyone from Kylie Minogue to Grimes.

  • Broken Social Scene - Arts & Crafts: To many, Canada is the jewel in the crown of real indie rock - and that's largely thanks to BSS's Arts & Crafts, who have given the world records by the likes of Stars, Phoenix, The Stills, Metric, Feist, The Dears, Yo La Tengo, Chilly Gonzales and more. Thanks, Broken Social Scene.

  • Kanye West - GOOD Music: Not only is it hme to West himself, but Big Sean, Pusha T, Mos Def, John Legend, D'banj and Mr Hudson and more. The GOOD stands for 'Getting Out Our Dreams', which is just lovely, isn't it?

  • Trent Reznor - The Null Corporation: The Nine Inch Nails frontman is renowned for staunchly doing things his own way, which is why it's so surprising that it took him until 2008 to form his own label to start releasing material by his own various projects.

  • Wilco - dBpm: These alt-country heroes will now too be self-releasing their own material on their very own imprint.

  • Prince - NPG: His Royal Badness' own label has been putting out his own funky work since 1993, as well as records by his own hand-picked talent and royalty like Chaka Khan and Graham Central Station

  • Metallica - Blackened Recordings: Hey Metallica, want to form your own label to release heavy metal without 'the man' interfering? "YEAAAAH!"

  • Thomas Bangalter - Roule: Half of Daft Punk also has his own dance label. Well, kinda. Describing the imprint, he said: "Roule' never really been a 'label.' It's been more of an outlet where there’s a record every year or so. I've never made plans for it, and I never will. It's just something that is there. I know for Guy-Manuel, Crydamoure is more of a label."

  • The Futureheads - Nul: After rising to fame off the back of their immaculate debut, the band fell out with the running of major labels after their second album. From then on, they set up their own label and took control of their own destiny, sounding as fresh as ever.

  • The Beatles - Apple: Founded in 1968, this iconic label was not only designed to put out the Fab Four's own latter day work, but also a labour of love for their chosen artists, including Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, Badfinger, and Billy Preston. The name and logo would later spark quite a lengthy fall-out with Steve Jobs' Apple.

  • Led Zeppelin - Swan Song Records: At the end of their deal with Atlantic in 1973, Robert Plant and co not only wanted a home of their own for their music, but to give an opportunity to other artists who may have otherwise struggled with the majors. As a result, they gave us classic albums by Bad Company, the Pretty Things, Dave Edmunds, Mirabai, Maggie Bell and even their own solo projects, which is excellent - right? Right.

  • Beastie Boys - Grand Royal: Not only were they one of the most essential and zeitgeist-defining acts of the last century, but their own label brought us records from Alec Empire, Atari Teenage Riot, At the Drive-In, Jimmy Eat World and countless more. Sadly, it fell victim to debt and went out of business in 2001.

  • Dr Dre - Aftermath Entertainment: The original king of the hip-hop empire, it stands to reason that Dre has put out records by the genre's biggest and best. Here's just a few: Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, Eve, The Game, Raekwon etc.

  • Julian Casablancas - Cult Records: It makes sense for Julian Casablancas to distribute his effortless cool on a wider scale and Cult Records appears to be the perfect vehicle for it - Karen O and Albert Hammond Jr have piled on, as well as ferocious punks Cerebral Ballzy and Casablancas' recent side project The Voidz.

  • Chvrches - Goodbye Records: This record label is still relatively fresh faced but the early signs are extremely promising. The trio nabbed SOAK's debut EP last year before she was showered in hyperbole and Mainsionair's release is hugely impressive - the future looks bright.

  • Earl Sweatshirt - Tan Cressida: Although Tyler The Creator appeared to be at the forefront of everything Odd Future did, other members were embarking on far more interesting projects - none more so than Earl Sweatshirt, who seems to have only shown flashes of his true potential. What's the meaning of the name? Who cares. It's going to put out some phenomenal stuff.

  • Flying Lotus - Brainfeeder: Despite assembling in 2008, FlyLo has gradually built up a roster of blistering electronic music and instrumental hip hop. Boasting the likes of Lapalux, Thundercat and Taylor McFerrin, it's difficult to find a weak link, proving that Steven Ellison has as keen an ear for other artists' output as his own.

  • Disclosure - Method Records: While it can feel like everyone has their own imprint these days, Disclosure's does appear to be heading in a positive direction - they have Lxury and the soon-to-be-huge Tourist on their books.

  • Nas - Mass Appeal Records: Only founded last year, this relatively new label has a hip hop roster consisting of acts such as Run The Jewels, Bishop Nehru and Nas himself and is gearing up to release its first compilation featuring a slew of collaborators, reinforcing the high esteem in which it's already held.

  • Drake - OVO Sound: Before he became consumed with recording diss tracks, Drake established a pretty impressive record label and took the hip hop landscape by storm. it's still going strong with ILoveMakonnen our tip to keep an eye on.

  • Tim Burgess - O Genesis: It was obvious that this label would be brilliant upon its inception in 2011, but a compilation of its wares released last year reinforced the Charlatans frontman's knack for a chorus. Burgess knows his indie pop.

  • Bon Iver - Chigilak Records: Despite releases being few and far between, the standard has been high and we're anxious to hear what Justin Vernon's been championing recently - it's bound to be hugely exciting.

  • Ben Lovett - Communion: Whatever you think of Mumford & Sons, there's no denying that the keyboardist has an eye for talent with his label giving Ben Howard and Michael Kiwanuka their big breaks.

  • Damon Albarn - Honest Jon's: We're still unsure as to how Albarn has time to call the shots at a record label, but he does. Dismissing the term "world music", he runs the imprint in conjunction with the record store of the same name and hopes "to open a few minds to what's out there".

  • Josh Homme - Rekords Rekords: After the collapse of Man's Ruins Records, the Queens Of The Stone Age frontman needed a new way to put out his acclaimed Desert Sessions. And so Rekords Rekords was born in 2001, putting out some pretty awesome stoner rock records by the likes of QOTSA, Eagles Of Death Metal, Mondo Generator and Alain Johannes.