Armada Music was founded in June 2003 by DJ Armin van Buuren, Maykel Piron and David Lewis. It has since gone on to become one of the biggest labels in dance music, notably recognised recently by IMPALA’s Outstanding Contribution Award, granted both to van Buuren and his label.

midemblog caught up with Piron to pop him the question of what, exactly, is the role of labels today, now that artists can — at least in theory — do everything themselves?

“Artists can do a lot themselves,” replied Piron; “but if they want to be a record label, they probably won’t have time to focuson the studio and touring. So if you’re a creative, focus on your creativity… and let others do the distribution, marketing and promotion.”

Labels, as such, are more than just a ‘nice to have’, said Piron. “A label can still bring added vaue to an artist’s career; otherwise I wouldn’t be in this business! I’m not a big believer that artists can sell their music themselves. Of course, there are some exceptions,” said Armada’s CEO. “But there are reasons why we have 65 people in our office: you need to work all the different aspects of a release.”

Piron added that Armada artists are welcome to handle their own social media activity, for example, but are welcome to rely on the expertise of the label’s dedicated social team. And this independence applies across the board: “Sometimes an artist needs freedom,” said Piron. “They travel a lot, from Holland to Japan… so if they want to advise us on new technologies, we’re more than happy to hear about new opportunities.”

So, label or no label, it’s all about keeping an open mind!


This is the latest in our “Who needs labels?” interview series. Recent additions include !K7, Big Beat Records, Black Butter Records and Believe Digital. Check out all of our interviews here!


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James Martin is Head of Social Media for Midem organisers Reed MIDEM. This includes defining and rolling out Midem's social media strategy, editing midemblog, influencer outreach, developing Midem's fanbase of 75,000+ music professionals and more.

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