It still exists, the much-vaunted "independent scene": In Germany, the independent Hamburg company Hypertension Music has stood for it since the late 80s. Behind this is not only an in-house label, but also a concert and artist agency.
Flashback to the year 1988: Christian Thiel from Hamburg and his (life) partner Irene Bodschwinna are big fans of singer-songwriter sounds, but have trouble getting discs by Paul Brady, Rick Vito or The Bacon Brothers in Germany. In those days, that works almost exclusively via foreign orders. "Irene and I assumed that other local fans of this style of music had similar problems getting hold of the material of their musical heroes," recalls Thiel, now 64. "So we started an import service for US and UK folk." Thus Hypertension was born
But soon the import service was no longer enough for the couple - they wanted to bring their own albums to the market under their own banner; in addition, they quickly added a concert office. The repertoire was expanded to include folk, country and blues. As an artist agency, they took care of concerts by acts as diverse as Albert Hammond, Mungo Jerry and Truck Stop. "We then quickly found a distributor for our label," Thiel recalls gratefully. "Without it, we would have been in over our heads in terms of expenses. Irene and I are first and foremost music fans, not so much business people."