Michna breaks out. Photo: ffg

Giant record labels are dead. Sorry, Jay Z. Def Jam is just not that cool any more.

The big, corporate labels are dinosaur fossils (insert big high five to the internet here) in an industry that is now thriving off the entrepreneurial efforts of the artists themselves. Successful are the labels that can figure out not only how to distribute their music in new and different ways, but also brand themselves.

One of these labels is on Ghostly International. A passport for flavor, Ghostly is a creative house where art and music live under the same roof. Their makeup and roster has a more unique range of tastes than the Baskin Robbins in Bangladesh.

To get a feeling for their artists and sounds, download the mixtape collaboration,Ghostly Swim, that they did for cartoon loonies Adult Swim.

Another ingenious way to spread their sounds, Ghostly released one of the coolest (and FREE?!) iPhone apps I have seen, Discovery. Simply set your music mood on their color wheel and you’re instantly streaming a mix of their artist catalog.

If you want to dive deeper, I urge you to check out two of my current label favorites, Michna and School of Seven Bells.

Michna’s album, Magic Monday, is a tightly knit piece of instrumental and electronic beat production. Throw on your headphones, press play, and this album will take you on little trip from start to finish.

School of Seven Bells is held together by the heavenly vocals of the two, sexy Deheza sisters and clean sound design of Benjamin Curtis. They got their name from a mythical group of pick pocketing, South American orphans. Another relaxing trip for your ears and mind.

All in all, not too shabby of an output from a label founded in 1999 by a 19 year old, right? We could all learn something from Ghostly.