XL Recordings' unique roster, ranging from Adele to Tyler, The Creator to The xx, attests to owner Richard Russell's focus on musicians with strong perspectives. Their limited number of releases, even after Adele's incredible run with 21 positioned them to go as big as they wanted, shows their solid commitment to a strategy that works. Keeping a relatively small roster with a modest number of annual releases allows XL Recordings to properly focus on that group of artists.
Painting The xx's X on XL Recordings' Office in West London
For Richard Russell "the music's got to be great," He also states that "he's drawn to artists with strong personal visions, who don't necessarily need XL in order to succeed."
Taking care of the business are people like Kris Chen who says:
"It is a better result to devote the maximum time possible to the fewest number of records...So I think for 2012 we maybe have five records."
Richard Russell voiced a similar perspective to the Guardian a year and half ago when Adele had sold her first million:
"The small release schedule is fundamental to what we do...In the past, we veered off it, and our eyes went off the quality control a bit. Once I'd recognised that, I made it a real mission to only do things we could commit to. There's a natural momentum towards doing more, and I battle that all the time."
He points out that artists on XL Recordings share:
"a strong idea about what they want to do. Strong personalities. Strong tastes. The music they've done when you sign them is barely relevant. It's not even the start. It's much more about the person and their ideas and strength of character and the direction they want to go in."
And, of course, Russell sums up his approach with the formula that sounds so simple but is clearly quite difficult:
"Put good records out. That's it."
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.