The first great wave of new independent record labels came between the years 1944 and 1947. The major labels of the time—RCA, Columbia and Decca (now MCA) - had all the established orchestras, singers and vocal groups under contract, so it was up to the independent labels to develop and nurture the new talent and to discover and promote the new trends.
Most of the men responsible for founding and sustaining the independent record labels of the 1940s have since retired, sold out or died. In fact, only one of those pioneers is still active with his label: Ahmet Ertegun, chairman of Atlantic Records.
Photo: Kevin Mazur, WireImage