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Record Labels: A Brief History

More recently I've found loads of great new artists who haven't necessarily broken through to a wider audience simply by checking out the label mates of those who have. This is just a short list featuring some of the more impactful record labels...
1Miles Davis
Kind of Blue

COLUMBIA (1888): One of the biggest record labels around released a number of cornerstone jazz albums from the likes of Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra as well as Bob Dylan's discography.
2The Beatles

PARLOPHONE (1896): Another major record label, parlophone released practically the whole Beatles discography as well as some of Radiohead's classics. Kraftwerk, Gorillaz and Coldplay have also released with them.
3The Jam
Sound Affects

POLYDOR (1924): Achieved major success with Slade, The Who and The Jam (as well as Style Council later on)
4The Beach Boys
Pet Sounds

CAPITOL (1942): Another one that is still going strong today as a major label, they released records from The Beach Boys, Radiohead and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
5Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV

ATLANTIC (1947): Released a lot of blues and jazz records but most well known due the success of Led Zeppelin as well as Yes and Cream.
6The Doors
The Doors

ELEKTRA (1950): Home to some of America's most treasured bands; The Doors and The Stooges Elektra also released records from many other great artists including Tim Buckley.
7The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground & Nico

VERVE (1956): Rose to prominence through Ella Fitzgerald and was propelled to even greater heights by the success of The Velvet Underground and Frank Zappa.
Ege Bamyasi

UNITED ARTISTS (1957): Home to many of krautrocks major stars including Can and Amon Duul II they also released albums from The Buzzcocks.
9King Crimson
In the Court of the Crimson King

ISLAND (1959): Still going strong today with many top pop acts including U2 Island also released classics from King Crimson, Nick Drake, Jethro Tull and Brian Eno.
10Marvin Gaye
What's Going On

MOTOWN (1959): Hugely successful and influential label, Motown released a number of great albums from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5. They had some fairly recent success with Erykah Badu.
11John Coltrane
A Love Supreme

IMPULSE! (1960): Released a variety of Jazz albums from John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Pharoah Sanders and Ray Charles. Most of my favourite Jazz came from this label.
12Elton John
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

MCA (1967): Had some major success with Elton John, Neil Diamond and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
13Talking Heads
Remain in Light

SIRE (1966): Released influential albums from Talking Heads, The Undertones and Ramones. Influenced a number of sub genres of rock music.
14Pink Floyd
The Dark Side of the Moon

HARVEST (1969): Some of the biggest selling bands of all time came from Harvest, including Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden and Deep Purple. Classic stuff.
15The Fall
This Nation's Saving Grace

BEGGARS BANQUET (1973): Became the all encompassing Beggars Banquet Group, but the original label released great records itself from artists such as The Fall, The National and St. Vincent.
16Joy Division
Unknown Pleasures

FACTORY (1978): Influencing not only music but how record labels should be run, Factory becomes more infamous as time goes on. The in house production team provided the foundation for Joy Division, New Order and The Durutti Column.
17Depeche Mode

MUTE (1978): Released most of Depeche Mode's discography and is the home of artists such as Goldfrapp, Liars and now Swans.
18The Smiths
The Queen Is Dead

ROUGH TRADE (1978): Famous worldwide for it's shops as well as it's artists which include The Smiths, The Strokes and Pantha du Prince.
19Sonic Youth

SST (1978): Another key label formed in 78' SST was the birth place of many key indie bands including Sonic Youth, Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr.
Surfer Rosa

4AD (1979): Still as strong as ever, 4AD has been releasing great records for a long time. Pixies, Deerhunter, Cocteau Twins, Bon Iver, Dead Can Dance, Red House Painters and St. Vincent are among the alumni.
21The Jesus Lizard

TOUCH AND GO (1981): Some oddball indie from The Jesus Lizard, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Butthole Surfers and TV on the Radio.
22The Microphones
The Glow Pt. 2

K (1982): Some of indie's finest from Modest Mouse, Beck, The Microphones and Mount Eerie.
23My Bloody Valentine

CREATION (1983): Although they are perhaps best known for signing Oasis and putting out their two best records, Creation as perhaps had a longer lasting impact on the genre shoegaze. Most of the key artists released albums such as My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Ride.

ONE LITTLE INDIAN (1985): An eclectic mix of artists (Bjork, The Shamen, Chumbawumba...)

SUB POP (1986): Influential grunge label that now releases albums from the likes of Fleet Foxes, Beach House and The Shins.
26The Field Mice
I Can See Myself Alone Forever

SARAH (1987): Everyone recognises the brand but how many people know the music? Great for indie pop (The Orchids, The Field Mice, East River Pipe etc)
Slanted & Enchanted

MATADOR (1989): Loads of great records from Pavement, Interpol, Iceage and Mogwai (amongst others).
28Neutral Milk Hotel
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

MERGE (1989): Had it's biggest success with Arcade Fire whilst still retaining crediblilty. Neutral Milk Hotel, Caribou, Dinosaur Jr, and The Magnetic Fields have all released great albums on this label.
29Boards of Canada
Music Has The Right To Children

WARP (1989): The biggest player in electronic music as well as being at the cutting edge of it. Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada and Flying Lotus have all releasd some of the best electronic music ever.
30Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City

XL (1989): Many acclaimed, popular acts reside on this label including Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Sigur Ros, The Horrors and The xx.
31Amon Tobin

NINJA TUNE (1990): Another legendary electronic label releasing music from Amon Tobin, Bonobo, Actress and Kelis amongst others.
32Pig Destroyer

RELAPSE (1990): Great metal label still going strong today with acts like Baroness, Tombs and Nothing.
33Dr. Dre
The Chronic

DEATH ROW (1991): Highly influential Hip-Hop label releasing some of the best known albums from Dr. Dre, 2Pac and Snoop Dogg.
Leaves Turn Inside You

KILL ROCK STARS (1991): Both Unwound and Elliott Smith released their best work on this label. Acts like Xiu Xiu are continuing the stream of high quality releases.

FAT POSSUM (1992): Releasing albums from some major artists (The Black Keys, El-P...) as well as modern indie bands such as Yuck and Wavves.
36Wu-Tang Clan
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

LOUD (1992): Released classics from Wu-Tang Clan, Raekwon, GZA and Mobb Deep. Twista and Three 6 Mafia were also on the legendary label.

CANDLELIGHT (1993): Signed Opeth and released albums from Emperor and many other great metal bands.
38Animal Collective
Merriweather Post Pavilion

DOMINO (1993): One of the most prolific and consistent modern indie labels. Domino houses Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, Hot Chip and Julia Holter.
39Tim Hecker
Harmony in Ultraviolet

KRANKY (1993): Where Deerhunter started out and where Atlas Sound and Lotus Plaza currently reside. Oh and ambient pioneers Stars of the Lid and Tim Hecker are also on the label.

METALHEADZ (1994): One of the most revered labels in the UK dance music scene. Goldie, Photek and Dillinja amongst others carved the future for Drum & Bass as well as influencing both garage and Dubstep producers.
The Marshall Mathers LP

AFTERMATH (1996): Probably the most successful rap label due to the huge success of Eminem, 50 Cent, the Game and Dr. Dre. The legacy continues with Kendrick Lamar...
42Bon Iver
For Emma, Forever Ago

JAGJAGUWAR (1996): Some great indie records have emerged from Jagjaguwar from Bon Iver, Women, Foxygen and Angel Olsen. Many of their albums are distributed by 4AD in the UK.
43The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream

SECRETLY CANADIAN (1996): Continues to grow into this decade, the label has released a number of great records already from Major Lazer, The War on Drugs and Yeasayer.

STONES THROW (1996): The most influential left field Hip-Hop label ever. The brand is now extremely well known after the success of MF Doom, Madlib and J Dilla.
45Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas...

CONSTELLATION (1997): Many of Canada's greatest artists release through Constellation. Godspeed, Colin Stetson, Thee Silver Mount Zion, Ought... One of the great modern labels.
46The Avalanches
Since I Left You

MODULAR (1998): Australia's answer. Released a classic exercise in sampling from the Avalanches and is now home to some of Australia's top imports; Tame Impala and Wolfmother.
47Sunn O)))
Monoliths and Dimensions

SOUTHERN LORD (1998): Some of the best modern metal is coming from this label from Trap Them, All Pigs Must Die and Sunn.
48Cloud Nothings
Here and Nowhere Else

CARPARK (1999): Great modern indie label releasing albums from Cloud Nothings, Toro y Moi and Beach House.

DEATHWISH (1999): Formed by Converge frontman, Deathwish is now one of the premier metal labels releasing some of the best albums of the decade so far.
50The Antlers

FRENCHKISS (1999): Great indie pop label with artists such as The Antlers, Passion Pit and Bloc Party.
51Andy Stott
Luxury Problems

MODERN LOVE (2002): Physical heavy house, techno drum & bass music. Releasing some of the most forward thinking dance music around at the moment from Andy Stott, Deepchord and Miles Whittaker.
52James Holden
The Idiots Are Winning

BORDER COMMUNITY (2004): Oddball electronic releases heavily influenced by the pioneers from Warp. Some great futuristic stuff from James Holden, Nathan Fake and Luke Abbott.

HYPERDUB (2004): One of the most influential modern labels once the foundation of Dubstep and now much more as well. Kode9, Cooly G, The Bug, Laurel Halo and Zomby have all released and many more are associated. Look out for the 10 year anniversary albums this year.
The Mantle

PROFOUND LORE (2004): Great mix of metal sub genres with quality artists such as Agalloch, Altar of Plagues and Pallbearer.
Cold Mission

KEYSOUND (2005): Emerging as one of the best electronic dance labels around. Innovative urban sounds from the likes of Dusk & Blackdown, Logos and Wen.
56Danny Brown

FOOL'S GOLD (2007): Genres range from indie to dance to Hip-hop. Danny Brown, Killer Mike and El-P have released some of the best hip-hop albums this decade off Fool's Gold.
For Lack of a Better Name

MAU5TRAP (2007): Deserves a mention for the success achieved by artists like Deadmau5 and Skirllex over such a short period of time. Waning a little now though
58Captain Murphy

BRAINFEEDER (2008): Run by Flying Lotus for fans of his melding of Jazz, Hip-Hop and Electronica. Artists like Thundercat and Gaslamp Killer are consistently releasing great stuff.
59White Suns

THE FLENSER (2009): Some of the most interesting stuff I've heard recently is coming from The Flenser. Have a Nice Life combine metal and shoegaze for a fairly accessible sound, whilst noise artists like White Suns make some of the most abrasive music I've heard.
60The Haxan Cloak

TRI ANGLE (2010): Some brilliantly produced, organic sounding electronic productions. The Haxan Cloak, Forest Swords, Clams Casino and Evian Christ lead the way.
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