One label has shaped the history of modern progressive music more than any other: InsideOutMusic. For more than 25 years, it has been home to many of the most iconic bands in history while nurturing a legion of artists who are carrying the torch forward.The part it has played in the genre’s current resurgence cannot be understated. From Steve Hackett, Kansas, Dream Theater and Devin Townsend to Haken, Leprous, Caligula’s Horse and beyond, the label’s past and current roster reads like a bible of modern progressive music.While trends have ebbed and flowed, and other labels have come and gone, InsideOutMusic has stuck resolutely to its guns. It has become more than just a stronghold for a form of music that had long been written off by so-called tastemakers and cultural gatekeepers – it has become a lightning rod for the resurrection of the genre.As Mike Portnoy, drummer with Sons Of Apollo and a former member of Dream Theater puts it: “InsideOutMusic are 100 per cent responsible for prog’s ongoing success over the last 25 years. They’ve carried the flag when nobody else would. So many bands have had an outlet because of InsideOutMusic.”It’s tempting to call InsideOutMusic a ‘maverick’ label, and it certainly defies regular music industry norms. But Thomas Waber, the man who co-founded it together with Michael Schmitz in the German town of Kleve in the mid-1990s, would refute that description. For him, the original ethos was driven by passion: InsideOutMusic was simply a way of getting the music he liked into the hands of people who would like it. That ethos is still at the heart of the label today.“I was never on a mission for prog, I just happen to like a lot of bands in that genre,” says Thomas. “I think: ‘Hey, if I like these bands, let’s work with them because I’m sure someone else will like them as well.”The seeds for InsideOutMusic were sown in the early 1990s. Waber, a former business student and longtime fan of progressive rock, had helped the cult British neo-prog band IQ found their own independent label Giant Electric Pea (GEP), which rapidly became a flourishing cottage industry at a time when major record labels refused to acknowledge prog’s existence.GEP proved that there was a market for a genre of music that had long been marginalized. Inspired by its success, by 1993, Waber had founded InsideOutMusic (the name was inspired by Outside Inside, an album by US art-rockers The Tubes).InsideOutMusic’s first official release was Testing for Destruction, the 1994 album by ex-King Crimson violinist David Cross. That would be the launch pad for a journey that gathered pace through the rest of the decade. Key albums from American neo-prog heroes Enchant, German’s VandenPlas, Spock’s Beard and US prog-metal pioneers Symphony X cemented the label’s burgeoning reputation as a home for forward-thinking bands and artists.Then, as now, there was no attempt to define an InsideOutMusic ‘sound’, no focus group-led drives to establish an ‘identity’. The label’s view has always been centered around quality: if an album is good enough, people will listen to it. The instincts of Thomas Waber and his team are trusted by both the public and the bands the label works with.“Most of the times, I don’t want to hear the opinion of someone who works at a record company,” says Mike Portnoy. “Thomas is one of the few people who I’ll listen to, and what he says is usually spot on.”Throughout its early history, the label’s profile expanded exponentially. InsideOutMusic released acclaimed albums by established artists such as Spock’s Beard, ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and Swedish band The Flower Kings through to up and coming artists such as Devin Townsend and Pain Of Salvation. In the eyes of the mainstream music industry and the general public alike, InsideOutMusic had gone from being a baffling curio to a lightning rod for an entire scene.In 2007, Waber launched sister label Superball as an outlet for more alternative-leaning, though no less visionary bands. From the first signing, cinematic British rockers Oceansize, to such current luminaries as …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead to Pure Reason Revolution, it has both strengthened and extended the InsideOutMusic ethos. Today, InsideOutMusic exists as part of the massive Sony Music family, though unlike many labels has retained its unique identity.Today, it sits at the pinnacle of the genre, home to artists as diverse as Pure Reason Revolution, Dream Theater, Riverside, Tim Bowness and Leprous.InsideOutMusic’s achievements over the past 25 years have done more than any other label to put progressive music back on the map. It has released more than 500 albums to date, helping to reestablish the genre. Each new release adds to the legacy of both the label and progressive music as a whole.“When I started listening to this kind of music in the 80s, I thought, ‘Wow, I’ve missed all the good stuff that happened in the 1970s,” says Waber. “But now I look back at what we have done with InsideOutMusic over the last 25 years, and I realize that there is still good music out there, and we want to bring it to people.”InsideOutMusic has spent more than a quarter of a century doing just that. And now, as we enter a new decade, this groundbreaking label remains a giant in its field.