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4AD

The influential 4AD label was started in 1980 by music enthusiasts Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent with financial help from Beggars Banquet, whose record store chain the pair worked for. Originally called Axis, they released an initial series of four 7" singles before finding out that the name Axis was already being used by another label. They quickly came up with a new name, 4AD, inspired by typography on a flyer announcing their releases. Under Ivo Watts-Russell's guidance, drawing influence from other UK indie labels such as Beggars Banquet, Postcard Records and Factory, 4AD quickly established a unique identity thanks to both the cover designs of Vaughan Oliver/v23 and the label's unique numbering system.

In 1992, 4AD entered a highly publicized Stateside distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records, opening offices in New York headed up by Robin Hurley. The label was largely run from California for most of the decade after Ivo Watts-Russell moved to Los Angeles in the mid-90s. In November 1999 it was announced that Martin Mills had taken over as chairman and relocated its HQ to London.

Decoding their unique numbering system reveals various formats like mail-order only releases (4AD), LPs (CAD), MP3 downloads (EAD), posters (FAD), videos (VAD) and more. The numeric portion of their catalog numbers

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Album artwork for Soused by Scott Walker

Soused

Scott Walker

£9.99 - £29.99

Album artwork for U.F.O.F. by Big Thief

U.F.O.F.

Big Thief

£12.99 - £22.99

Album artwork for Still by Erika de Casier

Still

Erika de Casier

£12.99 - £24.99

Album artwork for Garlands by Cocteau Twins

Garlands

Cocteau Twins

£8.99 - £22.99

Album artwork for Live At The BBC by Pixies

Live At The BBC

Pixies

£12.99 - £42.99

Album artwork for Womb by Purity Ring

Womb

Purity Ring

£12.99 - £22.99

Album artwork for Two Hands by Big Thief

Two Hands

Big Thief

£12.99 - £22.99

Album artwork for All Nerve by The Breeders

All Nerve

The Breeders

£12.99 - £22.99

Album artwork for Phasor by Helado Negro

Phasor

Helado Negro

£12.99 - £29.99

Album artwork for Return to the Moon by EL VY

Return to the Moon

EL VY

£8.99 - £22.99

Album artwork for Lovelife by Lush

Lovelife

Lush

£12.99 - £29.99

Album artwork for No No No by Beirut

No No No

Beirut

£8.99 - £22.99

Album artwork for Spooky by Lush

Spooky

Lush

£12.99 - £29.99

Album artwork for Junkyard by Birthday Party

Junkyard

Birthday Party

£19.99 - £22.99

Album artwork for Singles by Future Islands

Singles

Future Islands

£7.99 - £22.99

Album artwork for Love Streams by Tim Hecker

Love Streams

Tim Hecker

£12.99 - £22.99

Album artwork for With Love by Zomby

With Love

Zomby

£12.99 - £29.99

Album artwork for The Age Of Anxiety by Pixx

The Age Of Anxiety

Pixx

£12.99 - £22.99