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4AD is a British independent record label that was started in 1979 by Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent, funded by Beggars Banquet Records, and is still active today. It now forms part of the Beggars Group, along with Matador Records, Rough Trade Records and XL Recordings.

It was originally formed as Axis Records, but this was quickly changed to 4AD when it became apparent that the name Axis was already being used by another music company.

In 1980 Kent left the company to start another label (also funded by Beggars Banquet): Situation Two Records. Shortly afterwards, Watts-Russell invited the graphic designer Vaughan Oliver to create sleeve art for the label and as a result 4AD quickly acquired a visually distinctive identity which complemented the artful and atmospheric music that it was releasing at that time. Its artists like the Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance developed substantial cult followings in the mid-1980s, but 4AD continued to evolve, and, after signing Throwing Muses and Pixies, the label increasingly concentrated on underground American rock music. At the same time, 4AD somehow had a freak UK Number One hit in the early days of music with the collaged and influential “Pump Up The Volume” by M/A/R/R/S.

In the 1990s, 4AD established an office in Los Angeles and enjoyed success with bands such as The Breeders, Red House Painters, Unrest, and His Name Is Alive. In 1999, Watts-Russell sold his share in 4AD back to the Beggars Group (as it had by then become), but the label continued to release music and add new artists to its roster.

Edited by [deleted user] on 17 Feb 2012, 12:26

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