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Domino Records Profile

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Sebadoh At Grand Central Miami 1/18/12
Rock Cousteau / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Domino Records: The Basics:

  • What: Independent Record Label Domino Records
  • Where: Main offices located in London, UK, with a satellite office in Brooklyn, USA.
  • Label Founders: Laurence Bell and Jacqui Rice
  • Founded: 1993

The Early Years:

Domino opened its doors in 1993 with the release of a Sebadoh single. This single was indicitive of the path that Domino took through the early years of the label - licensing releases of US "underground" bands for UK release. Although bands like Sebadoh were enjoying a wave of relative popularity at this time in America, thanks to the success of Nirvana, they were marginalized in the UK, which was going Britpop crazy at this time. As such, Domino didn't have major sales successes early on, but they did quietly build a large, critically acclaimed catalogue that would serve them well in the future.

The Licensing Link:

The licensing relationships that Domino built in the label's early days, especially with Sub Pop and Drag City were critical to the label's success. Through licensing agreements, Domino was able to build up a catalogue of releases that already had some promotion behind them and for which all of the recording costs had already been covered. As musical tastes changed in the UK, Domino had a roster of suddenly popular cult favorites gained with a minimum of fuss through licensing.

Of course, Domino did release albums they had not licensed during this period, but the licensing is a crucial part of the Domino story.

Success in the 2000s:

The bands that officially landed Domino in the indie big leagues was Franz Ferdinand. Their self titled first album was an indie favorite, but their 2005 album It Could Have Been So Much Better earned Domino its first UK number one album. They followed up with the wildly successful I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, a single by Arctic Monkeys, which also was a number one hit in the UK.

Although these achievements are huge enough for an indie label, Domino was able to hold on to these bands for the UK market in the wake of their success, a major coup for an indie label.

Keeping the Post Punk Dreams Alive:

Domino has done a great job of balancing their major artists with releases by somewhat less commerical, lesser known bands. In fact, the success of the likes of Franz Ferdinand has allowed the label to work on more "labor of love" projects, and they have mined the fertile field of British post punk from the late 1970s/early 1980s, releasing compilations and reissuing out of print albums from bands like:

Geographic Records:

In addition to the less commercial releases that are on the main Domino label, they founded a subsidiary label, Geographic Records for releasing music that falls outside of the typical indie rock/pop of Domino. Geographic Records, which is primarily run by Stephen Pastel has released world music, jazz music and other more experimental music that sometimes has a hard time finding a record label home in the independent level.

Domino Records Artists:

Domino has an especially large roster of artists for an indie label - some of the most notable ones are listed here. The whole catalogue can be found on the Domino website. Keep in mind that some Domino artists may be on different labels outside of the UK, and some artists might be on Domino's US division but on a different label outside of the US.

Work Experience/Applying for a Job at Domino Records:

If you are interested in getting work experience at Domino Records or in applying for a job there, you'll need to put together a CV and a statement about why Domino appeals to you. Email both of these to workexperience@dominorecordco.com. Be advised that the large volume of applications they receive means that you'll only hear back from them if they're interested in talking more to you about employment.

Domino Records Demo Policy:

Domino no longer accepts unsolicited demos, nor will they take any phone calls from bands looking for a label. Unfortunately, they are unable to respond to emails about demos, either, unless they have specifically requested one from you.

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