4AD 4AD is an independent, British record label that was begun by Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent. It started in 1979, is funded by the Beggars Banquet Records. Some of 4AD’s recording artists are: Bon Iver, Deerhunter, Camera Obscura, Blonde Redhead, Ariel Pink, St. Vincent, Gang Gang Dance. When Watts-Russell extended an invitation to Vaughan Oliver a graphic designer to design some sleeve art for their record label, it helped 4AD to swiftly have an aesthetically distinguished look, giving it identity. The label’s focus was to get more attention given to underground rock music in America. It helped bands like Dead Can Dance and Cocteau Twins to get more exposure, both bands who ended up gaining cult followings. Columbia Music Entertainment assisted distribution of the label within Japan and Vertigo Records released music for them in Canada.
Sub Pop Sub Pop was founded by Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman in 1986, Seattle, Washington. In 1995 Poneman sold his 49% stake to Warner Bros. Records. The label received acclaim in the late 80s for having signed Nirvana, Mudhoney, Soundgarden and many other regional bands. They popularised grunge music and have continued to achieve success to this day with bands such as Fleet Foxes, Foals, The Postal Service, Flight of the Conchords and Wolf Parade. The label started from the success of Pavitt’s fanzine in the early 80s called ‘Subterranean Pop’ which focused entirely on American independent record labels. Having taking on the project to earn extra course credit whilst at university, he experimented and alternated issues with compilation tapes of underground rock music, the fifth cassette selling two thousand copies. Both Poneman and Pavitt wanted the label to focus on ‘this primal rock stuff that was coming out’. They publicised their label via the British music press. Nirvana moved to Geffen records but the royalties from ‘Nevermind’ kept the label going for years after. The joint venture with Warner Bros in 1995 was when Sub Pop ended as a completely independent label.
Virgin Records Virgin Records is also a British record label. It was founded in 1972 by Richard Branson, Nik Powell and Simon Draper. The company grew to be a large success with platinum selling artists: Janet Jackson, The Smashing Pumpkins, Culture Club, Lenny Kravitz, Mike Oldfield and more. However it was sold later in 1992 on to Thorn EMI, and in 2007 its American works merged with Capitol Records to form the Capitol Music Group. Originally the label began from Branson and Powell’s running a small record shop ‘Virgin Records and Tapes’ in Notting Hill Gate, London. The shop was a success so they turned it into a label. Branson said the name ‘virgin’ was a suggestion from his co- worker Tessa Watts when they were brainstorming as they were all ‘virgins’, new to the business. The first Virgin logo with the Gemini sign was designed by Roger Dean, and English artist – it had a young nude women in a mirror image with a serpent and the word ‘virgin’ in Dean’s writing. The label first found fame with Mike Oldfield’s album Tubular Bells, Phaedra by Tangerine Dream and The Faust Tapes by Faust but signing The Sex Pistols in 1977 was a new breakthrough for them and catapulted them to certain success.
Domino Records Domino is an independent record label in London though there is also a wing in the U.S, a German and a French division. It was founded in 1993 by Jacqui Rice and his partner Laurence Bell. Most of the early releases by Domino were from American artists that were signed to Drag City that Domino had a close relationship with, success was not immediate but the label’s later signings have given them more credibility with The Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and The Kills. They are one of the most successful and longest running still independent record labels within the UK. Other bands/artists are: Blood Orange, Anna Calvi, Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors etc.
Our Band To conclude, right now we are satisfied to promote Jamie Thorn & The Mystery Pacific through myspace at http://www.myspace.com/jamiethornmusic and through uploading the band’s music videos onto Youtube where existing fans and new ones may explore and find the video. This way we can maximise sales by selling the music online and not using any extra money on making a physical package with the CD sleeve, artwork and so on; music can be bought by a simple online transaction and one click to download. After getting more video views, playing more sets at pubs and getting more exposure in the future it is likely that if we were to choose a record label to sign our band to it would be 4AD. This is because 4AD is a British label which is also based in Britain, making contact and meeting with associates from the label much faster, easier and cheaper. Their being British means the band gets to keep things closer to home, and the label has an extremely good track record having sold millions with bands Bon Iver, Camera Obscura and Deerhunter. The types of bands that they sell are also the most similar out of the record labels I have researched to the type of music that our band makes, in its style and genre of folk rock music as well as the way it is marketed e.g. Similar humble clothes, a focus on nature, long hair and beards, history, folklore in lyrical content etc.