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    Year Established: 1979 Genre Focus: Underground American Rock, Electronic, Indie Pop Website: www.4ad.com

    As one fourth of the Beggars Group, 4AD is a British independent record label that was started by Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent in 1979. It was initially created to serve as a "testing ground" for parent company Beggars Banque Records. The idea was that new acts would spend at least one year with 4AD, and if they achieved a certain level of succss during that period, they would then "graduate up" to Beggars Banquet. Only one group actually followed that program.

    In the mid '80s the label focused mostly on underground Amercian rock acts. These bands would include the likes of Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, and The Pixies. Since that time, 4AD has evolved to represent a variety of acts from a mixed bag of genres. The current roster includes Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Blood Diamonds, Bon Iver, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Grimes, Purity Ring, SpaceGhostPurrp, The National, and Twin Shadow.