BEST LOCAL RECORD LABEL - 2005
In 2004, online distro outfits like iTunes and the new Napster redux finally started making good on an old promise: They proved that the masses, when their pocketbooks and sloth are catered to, will pay real cash for digital tunes, thus blowing the roof off this dance party we call the music industry and forcing a lot of folks to wonder if the era of the record label really is over. It isn't, of course, for one big reason: fans need labels as much as artists do. Labels are brands. That's why 2024 Records, home to local indie dynamos like the Olympic Hopefuls and the Plastic Constellations, is such a treat. Like any good brand, a label logo carries weight. In this case, it bears the guarantee of smart pop (the roster also includes Valet, Romantica, Fitzgerald, and up-and-comers Duplomacy). While it certainly helps that 2024 has Minnesota's buzziest band in years--the Hopefuls--in its ranks, the label also succeeds by patiently resisting the urge to grow beyond its good sense. With that kind of quality control, the 2024 brand could well achieve what no local rock label has since AmRep: a national recognition synonymous with "Minnesota." But let's not get ahead of ourselves; for now, 2024 is content with modest accomplishments: finding good bands. Releasing good albums. And then getting it all up on iTunes.