1619 artists, 25946 songs
Encouraged by the success of small punk rock and new wave labels in the late '70s, thousands of entrepreneurial music fans started independent labels during the '80s. Although bands signed to independent labels didn't enjoy the large studio budgets that major label artists were provided, they were given complete creative freedom. During the '90s when major labels tried to sign any alternative band, many groups like the Afghan Whigs, Archers of Loaf and Pavement opted to stay with independent labels like Sub Pop, Alias and Matador where they could maintain their artistic credibility. Some of the most popular '90s indie rock acts eventually signed to major labels, but a few of them like Beck had open-ended contracts that allowed them to release work on independent labels as well.