Now I do know that small labels get sucked up by larger labels all of the time. They don't exactly disappear but being an imprint on a larger label isn't quite the same as being a smaller independent label, is it? I have bought so many albums by Too Pure and Beggar's Banquet artists over the years that I can't count. I also have a lot of stuff by 4AD folks too but... well, it's just not gonna be the same is it?
A farewell to Beggars Banquet's indie charms
The label that's home to bands such as Stereolab is to fold, with its acts moving to 4AD. Sad news indeed, but not a disaster
Sad news arrived yesterday afternoon, in the form of an email titled "sad news". Two of the UK's best-known independent record labels will cease to be, after 4AD announced it was "expanding" and enveloping the artists currently signed to subsidiaries Too Pure and Beggars Banquet. 4AD is currently home to the Breeders, Beirut and Scott Walker, so it's hardly a monstrous major. Still, these are labels that will be missed.
Beggars Banquet began life as a record shop in south west London that concentrated on mid-70s punk such as the Lurkers, who provided the music for the label's first ever release. Considerable success followed with Gary Numan, and, to a lesser degree, the Fall, while the current roster includes St Vincent and Stereolab. Too Pure began later, in the late 1980s, and went on to discover PJ Harvey, who released her debut single Dress through the label in 1991.
Today the label is synonymous with Singles Club, a monthly mail out of singles and 7"s that one blogger at drownedinsound.com, described as "amazing slices of heaven".
The official line is that restructuring at parent company Beggars Group, which is also home to XL Recordings, Rough Trade and Mo'Wax amongst others, means that the rosters from Too Pure and Beggars Banquet will be absorbed into 4AD. But whether they'll be equally resourced seems to be in doubt.
There are worse things that could happen to a band than to shift from one Beggars group imprint to another, of course. Too Pure and Beggars Banquet haven't actually gone under, so to speak. And at least they're not at the mercy of Terra Firma. Will you miss these two famous labels?