XL is home to some names that would be more than welcome in the major label realm- Radiohead, Adele, Beck and Jack White to name a few. While the majors definitely made offers to these artists, XL stays independent and keeps a rock solid roster by keeping it simple, working with a short list of artists and only releasing a handful of albums a year (and they still have 3 in the Billboard top 50 right now).
The London based label, which is part of Beggars Group, began as a subsidiary of commercial dance label Citybeat in 1989. Specializing in the underground rave and electronic music that was emerging in the UK at the time, one of the label’s early successes was Prodigy.
XL broadened its scope in the late 90s/early 2000s due in part to a change in management. The label signed The White Stripes for their releases in the UK and also worked with Dizzee Rascal, Badly Drawn Boy, and M.I.A.
These days XL is riding high on the unprecedented success of Adele’s 21. Check out some of the other great stuff XL has going on now:
The xx “Angels”
Bobby Womack “Whatever Happened to the Times”
Sigur Rós “Rembihnútur”
The Horrors “Changing the Rain”
– Submitted by Justin Main, Music Design