Take A Peek Into Armada, The World’s Biggest Independent Dance Label

If you’ve ever heard of the name Armin van Buuren, we’re sure you’ve heard of his famed label, Armada. The label is home to 40+ imprints, comprised of around 80 unique artists. That said, it’s definitely a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the world of dance music.

The world’s largest independent music label has seen its sales and streams grow at an impressive rate, that of 20% to 30%, annually. In addition to this, it has been named the “best global label six times at the International Dance Music Awards“. If these two accolades aren’t worthy of praise, we’re not sure what is.

Located in Amsterdam, the Armada headquarters is located in a quaint office block. The premises have a radio studio on location, from which AVB host his world-renowned radio show A State Of Trance. On the first floor, adjacent to the studio, is Armada’s in-house club. This is where the Armada roster of artists are able to test out their newest tunes, on a fully-equipped, cutting edge sound system. This same club has even been used to host events during ADE.


In the words of artist ‘Lost Frequencies’, the Armada headquarters are a “a mix between work and a party office“.

“Everybody is super-hyped about what is going on. So I always have a big smile when I walk in the door.”

Armada’s Founding Story

While Armin is the face of the label, the success of the label is also accredited to the involvement of his two other partners, CEO Maykel Piron, and his manager David Lewis. The name Armada, comes from a combination of all of their names together: ARmin, MAykel and DAvid.

The label came together in Ibiza in the summer of 2003. At this time, AVB was signed to a US house label known as ‘United Records’. The label nearly stifled his creativeness. While the label was focused on house, Armin had other plans—trance plans, you could say. The label was reluctant to release any of the tracks Armin had discovered, and so he began to look elsewhere.

It was at this point that his manager, David Lewis, along iwth former Warner Music A&R Maykel Piron, and Armin van Buuren came together to form Armada. In Piron’s words:

“It was always my dream to have a real creative environment and not be like ‘OK, this is a record label, we sign the contracts and that’s it,”

“I want artists to come and make our music at the offices. It gives them an opportunity to look into our ‘kitchen’ and, because of that, we might sign them quicker.”

The Creation of Armada Music

From the looks of things, this is exactly what they created. While Armada definitely seems like quite the playground, it is important to note that at its core, one thing remains the same. It’s all about the music.

“As much as the charts might be dominated by urban music, the clubs will always play higher tempos because people want to dance and experience that vibe.” says van Bodegraven.

“So aside from everything that’s happening on the radio, there’s always the clubs – and clubs are where we are rooted.”

Nadine van Bodegraven, Armada Music

For more information on Armada, be sure to check out their official website here. You can also find the original BBC article in its entirety here. And don’t forget to take a listen to Armin van Buuren‘s newest release ‘Stickup‘ on Armada Music here.