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Playground magazine

Record Label


XL Recordings

Present location: London, UK

Since: 1989


XL Recordings is a label that started as a rave subsidiary of City Beat Records (itself a commercial dance subsidiary of Beggars Banquet). XL's success was immediate, thanks to bands like The Prodigy and SL2. At the start of the nineties, they opened up to genres like hardcore breakbeat, techno and drum’n’bass. Though initially directed by Richard Russell, Tim Palmer and Nick Halker, the latter two left the company. Russell remains alone at the helm to this day.

With the start of the new millennium, XL Recordings forgot about stylistic borders and signed several non-dance artists, including Badly Drawn Boy and The White Stripes. In the second half of the decade, they also signed Thom Yorke as a solo artist, alongside his band Radiohead - who released the physical formats of two of their albums on the label. They have enjoyed huge commercial success with some of their more recent signings, including The Horrors, The xx and Vampire Weekend. Adele is a particularly successful artist on their roster - her album “21” was the best-selling in 2011 worldwide.

Selected discography

The Prodigy: “Music For The Jilted Generation” (1994)

Radiohead: “In Rainbows” (2007)

Vampire Weekend: “Vampire Weekend” (2008)

The Horrors: “Primary Colours” (2009)

The xx: “xx” (2009)

Adele: “21” (2011)



Basement Jaxx

Bobby Womack

Friendly Fires

Gil Scott-Heron




Sigur Rós

The Horrors

The White Stripes

The xx

Thom Yorke

Titus Andronicus

Vampire Weekend