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Linn Records beats industry giants to label of the year crown

A Scots record label has seen off the music industry’s heavyweights to be crowned Record Label of the Year at the prestigious Gramophone Awards.

In a ceremony at London’s Dorchester hotel yesterday, pioneering independent Linn Records was selected over Sony and EMI to scoop the title, earning plaudits from the magazine’s editor-in-chief James Jolly, who described it as “the very model of a modern record company”.

Previous winners include Richard Branson’s Virgin label.

The firm, which is based in Eaglesham, East Renfrewshire, and employs five full-time staff in its record division and about 160 people in total, said it was still surprised at the win.

The company, which specialises in classical and jazz recordings, was founded in 1983, after Linn had already established a strong reputation for high-quality music players. It now edits and mixes tracks, as well as making hi-fi equipment which is sold around the world.

The company said: “Winning this prestigious award is the culmination of nearly three decades of work, and represents the dedication of a team striving to give you the best music, with no compromises on quality or support of our artists.”

Linn Records business manager Caroline Dooley said it was like “winning the World Cup”.

“We were up against the industry giants, and indeed there are many other independent record labels much bigger than us and yet we’ve still been chosen over everyone else,” she added.

Artists on Linn’s books include Britain’s “first lady of jazz”, Claire Martin. Its high-quality recording technology has also drawn in mainstream artists including Maeve O’Boyle and William Orbit.

However, the company is probably best known for its classical recordings. The latest award will join a classical BRIT awarded to Linn for a recording of Mozart Symphonies 38 – 41, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The same recording was also named BBC Music Magazine’s Disc of the Year.

Ms Dooley puts the success of the record company down to its innovative approach to downloads.

“We’re still able to invest in cutting-edge technology to make the finest recordings that we can. The reason we can do that is we’ve found this new revenue source through the production of studio-master downloads.

“In fact, we’re able to charge a premium for these, so it means we’re actually one of the few labels at the moment which are actually generating cash,” she added.

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