With roots in both traditional rock music and electronica, industrial rock grew from relative obscurity in the 1970s and 1980s into an established genre of alternative music from the 1990s and afterward. While bands themselves along with their fans were largely responsible for this rise in popularity, a number of independent record labels were also crucial in every stage of the development of industrial rock.
Not only just a record label, Metropolis Records is also a distributor and mail-order music store. Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Metropolis is one of the largest and most influential record labels in the world specializing in industrial music and its many subgenres. The label started out as the Digital Underground, a music store, and began signing bands and releasing music in 1995. To date, some of their most successful bands and artists have included Gary Numan, KMFDM, VNV Nation and Apoptygma Berzerk.
Cleopatra Records made a new for itself in the 1990s by releasing an array of tribute albums featuring cover versions of songs by artists ranging from The Smashing Pumpkins to Depeche Mode. The label was founded in 1992 in Los Angeles and has been the home for a variety of goth, industrial, electronic and rock bands over the years. Besides releasing original music by their own artists, Cleopatra has also acquired licensing rights to a number of out-of-print releases from prominent artists such as Kraftwerk, which have subsequently been re-released on Cleopatra. Influential industrial rock bands such as Godhead, Pig and Die Krupps have all released albums on Cleopatra.
In 1984 TVT Records started out as 'TeeVee Toons' and was run by Steve Gottlieb out of his own apartment in New York City. TVT soon grew into the largest independent record label in the United States and has released several multi-platinum albums. Ranging in style from hip-hop to rock and industrial, TVT's most prominent contribution to industrial rock was without question its "discovery" of Nine Inch Nails and the release of their first album, Pretty Hate Machine in 1989. Industrial rock legends Gravity Kills and KMFDM have also been signed to TVT Records.
Wax Trax! Records
Originally a music shop in Denver, Colorado, Wax Trax soon relocated to Chicago in 1978. The store's owners, Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher, released a number of limited edition records at the shop, which eventually led to the first official Wax Trax release, 'Immediate Action' by the band Strike Under in 1980. During the 1980s Wax Trax later grew to become a leading industrial music record label in the United States and released music by artists such as Ministry, Front 242, Meat Beat Manifesto, KMFDM and Front Line Assembly.
Taylor is a contributor at Alternative Electronics, the most comprehensive resource online for information about the equipment used in alternative electronic music, where you can find out more about industrial rock.
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