Amigo is one of the oldest active independent music labels in the world today. It is a part of the Swedish music company Cosmos Music, which owns the biggest indie catalogue of master recordings in the Nordics.
Below please find a short version of the label’s history from it’s beginning to date:
1966 – The record label and music publishing company Amigo is launched in Stockholm, Sweden by brothers Per-Anders and Jan Boquist.
The first release on the label is the album “Nånstans Nångång” by the group Country Four. The album is based on the movie theme from Doctor Zhivago.
Operations are soon expanded to include the licensing and representation of other international independent labels’ repertoire.
In the early seventies Amigo starts it’s own inhouse distribution operation and takes on even more labels to represent. Both the number of employees as well as the company turnover increases drastically and the profit is reinvested in new Amigo recordings.
Many international niche labels find their Nordic preferred partner in Amigo, among them ECM, Rounder, Delmark and Nighthawk in genres such as jazz, blues, folk and world music.
Amigo opens subsidaries in Norway, Denmark and Finland and can through this represent, market, sell and distribute throughout the entire region from one central warehouse in Stockholm – something which they are among the first record labels to do in the Nordics.
Eventually the license and distribution business catalogues more than 10,000 individual titles from over 400 different labels – among them Cooking Vinyl, Roadrunner, V2, Sonet, Epitaph, Ace, Fantasy, Prestige, Milestone, Riverside, Galaxy, Stax, Act, Big Brother, Dramatico, SoulJazz, Mélodie, Stern, Sonodisc, World Circuit, Frontiers, Coop, Wichita, City Slang, AFM, Konichiwa, X5, Headstomp, Subpop, Sunday Best, ADA, Proper, Union Square and many, many others.
The incredible wide musical spectrum a huge repertoire like this entails means that many genuinely passionate music lovers apply to work for Amigo.
This lends a very strong creative credibility to Amigo, which also affects the a&r and recording process. The inhouse catalogue of own masters grows and covers everything from folk, jazz, singer/songwriters to pop, rock and soul, but all with a couple of very important components in common – passion, quality and long term committment.
During the second half of the eighties Fredrik Boquist, the son of Per-Anders, takes over as CEO and Amigo continues to build its reputation as the most respected label in the Nordics for independent repertoire, whether local or international.
Early 2000 Amigo is acquired by publishing media giant Bonnier AB, who merges it with their own, newly started record label Bonnier Music. The new company is called Bonnier Amigo Music Group.
New CEO is Jonas Siljemark (today CEO of Warner Music Group). After a couple of years he is succeeded by Ludvig Werner (today CEO of IFPI Sweden).
Bonnier Amigo Music Group becomes the biggest independent record label in the Nordics with a total of 75 staff across four countries and an annual turnover of US$30million.
The distribution is now peaking and among the international labels that Amigo represents you find names like Epitaph, Roadrunner, ADA, Big Brother, Coop, Wichita, City SLang, Secretly Canadian, Sunday Best, SoulJazz and many others. Bonnier Amigo Music Group also distributes/finances a huge number of other Swedish indie labels such as MNW, Razzia/Family Tree/Catchy Tunes, Sonet, Konichiwa, X5 Music Group, National, Darrow, Burning Heart, Scranta and many more. Among the artists distributed you find everything from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Oasis, Fleetfoxes, Nickelback, Tom Waits, Mumford & Sons to First Aid Kit, The Hives, Robyn, Peter, Björn & John, Ane Brun and José Gonzáles to name but a few.
Meanwhile the flow of local releases from the Amigo imprint continues with great accolades, several music business awards and increasing sales which further compound Amigo´s profile as of the most credible independent labels in the country.
At the end of 2009 the then CEO Fredrik Ekander along with three partners buy the entire company from Bonnier AB.
Bonnier Amigo Music Group changes name to Cosmos Music.
A complete repositioning of the company is undertaken to better adjust to the radical changes brought on the new emerging digital market and to find a new way forward despite drastically diminishing physical sales.
2010 – A dismantling of the physical distribution and the entire operation of third-party representation is commenced. Focus shifts from physcial to digital and to A&R and the marketing of Cosmos Music’s own repertoire only.
Through this move Amigo’s role is very clear within the Cosmos Music group – to be the imprint that after half a century still certifies quality, creative credibility and true music breadth.
This is the best way Cosmos Music can ensure the continued development of Amigo’s long and proud heritage.
2011 – Jan Boquist passes away, 75 years old.
2014 – Per-Anders passes away, 83 years old.
2015 – Cosmos Music buys the leading independent Swedish music publisher Scandinavian Songs to complete the transformation (back) into an allround music company – with an equally prioritised investment in new talent, whether it is artists or songwriters and in any genre. Through Scandinavian Songs Amigo benefits from a sister company with it’s own infrastructure of studios and producers and therefore opens up new creative possibilities to new, exciting musical collaborations.
2016 – Amigo celebrates 50 years of independent label operations use (same as our tagline) and the number of new releases continues to increase. Amigo lives on, all in the spirit of Jan and Per-Anders…
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