XL Record Label (Research)

Description and overview of XL Records, Indpendent Label

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Background of XL Records

- XL Recordings is a British independent record label based In London, Ladbroke Grove.

- Owned by Richard Russell, with Tim Palmer and Nick Halkes

- Founded in 1989. 

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Genre of music and Target Audience

- The label itself specialises in various types of music genres appealing to many. But yet during the early year of 1989 when XL started it specialised in the D.I.Y. hard-core rave sounds that were coming from London's suburbs.

- Alongside other independents like ‘Shut Up and Dance’ and ‘Suburban Bass’ , XL helped shape a sound that was equally influenced by American urban music, Jamaican dub and reggae.

- Making the target audience in the early days a niche market contrasting to the label today with a slight more of a mainstream appeal. 

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ETHOS of XL Recordings

- Is mainly for the music and love and passion of it, because of its history and rotes in the previous years, yet it still wants to make a profit as it is after all a business within the music industry. 

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- As you can see XL have a wide ranging genre of music in relation to their artists, contrasting to many independent record labels who usually focus and specialise on one certain genre of music and furthermore focus on one certain niche target audience.


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Successful Artist (Adele)

- Adele was offered a recording contract from XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on MySpace in 2006 (Connection of Media Technology and Record Label).

- Furthermore in relation to this success, Adele beats Muse in poll to see who should record theme for new 'James Bond' film 'Skyfall' a quote taken from the result of a poll on the NME website. If this comes to be, both Adele and XL will converge with Eon productions increasing both of their appeal being associated with each other, benefiting the independent record label XL financially and furthermore increasing their mainstream appeal.

- Adele also regularly features in many music and commercial magazines including popular ones such as ‘Q’, ‘ELLE’, ‘GLAMOUR, ‘Fabulous’, and ‘VOGUE’ also featured on TV programmes such as ‘Ugly Berry and ‘Saturday Night Live’. All major organisations in which will increase both Adele and XL’s appeal to the wider audience and public.

- Adele is now also signed with Columbia, a Major Record Label owned by Sony, but yet still signed with her original label, XL. 

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Unsuccessful Artist (Jack Penate)

- Jack Peñate from London and is an English musician and singer-songwriter signed to XL Recordings.

- Peñate has appeared on XFM radio's "Exposure" and his first two singles were both Single of the Week on BBC Radio 1 show. He also was featured at Glastonbury Festival in 2007, more appeal for both artist and record label.

- Peñate has also performed on the Later... with Jools Holland show sharing a bill with David Gray increasing his appeal and making him and XL noticed alongside well known artists.

- Peñate has played gigs all over the UK on tour and has previously shared dates with his good friend Adele convergence within the label with established artists increasing the appeal of the less known.

- Peñate as shown tries to promote and make money through festivals and gigs, because of the media technology Peñate also tries to promote himself in sites such as MySpace. Peñate is more common of the artists involved with independent labels, being less successful and not as mainstream as majors.

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Long Tail Theory

- Even though both Jack Peñate and Adele are signed with XL they differ in the long tail theory. Adele being at the top, as she more generic with her audience and appeal. On the other hand Jack Peñate being at the bottom of the long tail as his is more specific in relation to artists such as Adele. 

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Bryce Roberts Quote

 - ‘Creative integrity is the backbone of the true artist. XL Recordings is an independent record label which fully comprehends the cultural value of the musical artist. This awareness is partly what makes XL’s artists so enduring; it is what sets them apart from the featherless chickens with chemically enlarged breasts spawned for efficiency by much of the modern food industry and major labels alike. Evidence that when creative artists combine with creative businessmen/music-lovers and market themselves in a world no longer entirely ruled by powerful gatekeepers, creative integrity can pay off’.

- This was said by Bryce Roberts on  www.indieuniverse.wordpress.com, this quote alone empowers the independent record label status against the mainstream dominating major record labels, almost providing a promising future for record labels such as XL.

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Marketing, Advertising & Promotion

- The XL website is rather bland in colour with only black and white colour scheme used, yet a very recognisable logo is established on the page with a contrasting colour making it stand out and further noticeable to the audience. All artists are featured on the front page of the website and once clicked on there are various news and quotes related to the artists increasing their appeal and establishment, furthermore there are links to both Twitter and Facebook, using Web 2.0 in order for consumers to get the music direct from the website but also promote the artists appeal. Furthermore they have link to other things such as CDs in which customers can buy more so merchandise in relation to the artists increasing their profits in a contrasting way to the music itself, all these aspects are featured on XL’s website.

- Majors have more money, in relation to marketing, meaning more detail, and professional finish, can deliver a convincing portrayal of their artists. Sony’s website is rather plain but yet clean cut and has a professional finish, links to all the artists and to their ‘official’ website unlike XL, also Sony does not have links to broadcast and social network websites like XL as Sony’s artists are already established and don’t need more establishment. More so Sony has links showing the offices and various record labels it owns.



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- XL Studio, a recording and mixing studio in Ladbroke Grove, West London. In 2008 the XL Studio was born in a disused garage space next door to the XL Recordings offices.

- Inspired by the successes of small and residential studios such as Motown’s Studio A, Russell and McDonald aimed to turn the XL Studio into a place where the artists that XL works with would be able to realise their ideas to the highest standard possible. The studio was to have a sound and an atmosphere that would encourage the creation of extraordinary music.

- After a trial run of practicing and creating the ‘XX’ album where it was recorded and mixed. Following the completion of the ‘XX’ album the studio was expanded to the office next door to the original, doubling in size and expanding the label itself.  Contrasting with the struggle of the independent record label expansion, this method of practice and creation worked out well for Russell and XL. 

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- There are also well established sites in which distribute XL music including sites such as ITunes and Amazon.

- Consumers get their music using digital technology; can get it anywhere and anytime, on their phone, laptop and PC.

- Also music streams on websites such as YouTube in which consumers get their music.

-Huge benefits for audience.

-Vast range/choice/everything available.

-Past consume music from the past, as far as even 100 years. (Back Catalogue).

-Niche, Independent, rare, obscure, long tail, global, world music.

-Buy music but yet more so stream music.

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