Year Established: 1978 Genre Focus: Experimental Website: www.mute.com
1978 gave birth to more than just one independent label powerhouse in the UK. Next to Rough Trade would stand Daniel Miller's Mute Records. Like so many other indie outfits, Mute came about rather organically. At the time, Miller had been creating simple electronic music using a synthesizer under a rather bland moniker called The Normal. He would record songs and distribute the singles through the Rough Trade Cartel network as another alias, Mute Records. The label officially launched after one of Miller's singles, two songs titled "T.V.O.D" and "Warm Leatherette," became a cult hit.
With Mute Records officially off the ground in 1980, Miller would approach a band called Depeche Mode after seeing one of their London performances. His pitch was for them to record a single for his label, that single became "Dreaming of Me." As the story goes, Depeche Mode went on to become a wildly successful band and a driving force in the aggressive growth of Mute at the time. The label achieved additional success via its work with Yazoo (a duo of former Depeche Mode lead singer Vince Clarke and Alison Motet) and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, who released their debut single on Mute in 1983. The label now records and promotes for acts like Liars, Cold Specks, Apparat, Erasure, M83, and Yeasayer.