In collaboration with IMPALA, The Independent Echo is  launching FIVEUNDERFIFTEEN – a new spotlight for young labels across Europe. Each month for a limited period, we will focus on five labels – each under fifteen years young. This is one of IMPALA’s fifteenth birthday initiatives focusing on being young and independent.

DespotzDespotz Records is run by Carl-Marcus Gidlöf and Ömer Akay.

Founded in 2007, the label has released over 60 albums with around 30 artists in various genres from singer songwriters, pop and folk to hard rock and metal.

“Despotz Records aim to be one of the best alternatives for Swedish artists looking for an international setup”, says Carl-Marcus, “a label where you can work in close contact with the artists and from day one, pull up a release plan with promotion, marketing and distribution on an international level.”

While the head office is in Stockholm, the label’s main focus for PR and distribution is therefore on Europe and North America.

Despotz’s roster includes artists such as Adna, Crucified Barbara, Thundermother, Raubtier, Tad Morose, and Kamchatka.

Why did you start a label?

Back in 2007 we were three guys who all shared a dream of running a label, and we all came from different backgrounds (PR, label and pressing/logistics) and educations and felt we were a strong team.

After a few years one original partner left to pursue other interests.

Two of us stayed and have seen a steady growth and look very bright on the future.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 17.43.50What are your best albums?

Carl-Marcus Gidlöf’s personal favourites:


Ömer Akay’s personal favourites:

What tips do you have for other labels?

As the streaming services grow and mature we believe there will be a lot of healthy niche markets and genres, which might currently be struggling to carry their own weight purely on streams, but the growth we’re seeing on the hard rock and metal side as an example is real. With more algorithms like Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’ we believe there will by many opportunities for fast-moving indie labels and innovative ways to work and distribute music.

Worth an extra mention in this world is Youtube and how many ways there are to work it; work your artists channels and/your own channel, and also pitch to have music used on other channels (music and non-music/lifestyle), collaborations etc.

Check out a taste of Despotz Records & Music in a playlist: