Matador Records

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Matador Records
Matador Records logo.png
Parent companyBeggars Group
Founded1989 (1989)
FounderChris Lombardi
GenreRock, indie rock, experimental, electronic
Country of originUSA
LocationNew York City, London

Matador Records is an independent record label, with a roster of mainly indie rock, but also punk rock, experimental rock, alternative rock, and electronic acts.


Matador was created in 1989 by Chris Lombardi in his New York City apartment. Lombardi had brought the Austrian duo H.P. Zinker into Wharton Tiers’ Fun City studio to record Matador's first release, "...and there was light". Lombardi continued to add artists to the label's roster, with bands like the Dustdevils, Railroad Jerk and Superchunk, before being joined by former Homestead Records manager Gerard Cosloy in 1990.

Lombardi and Cosloy have continued to run Matador Records together with Patrick Amory coming on as Matador's label manager in 1994, later becoming label president as well as a partner of Lombardi and Cosloy. Matador first drew mainstream media attention and larger sales with the North American release of Teenage Fanclub’s debut record, A Catholic Education in 1990. Other early releases that bolstered the label included Pavement's debut studio album Slanted and Enchanted in 1992 and Liz Phair's debut album, Exile in Guyville in 1993.

1993 also saw Matador enter into a partnership with Atlantic Records which lasted for several years. In 1996, Capitol Records purchased a 49 percent stake in Matador, which Lombardi and Cosloy bought back in 1999. Beggars Group purchased 50% of Matador in 2002 and took over the label's worldwide marketing.[1]

Over the years, the label has moved to larger and larger premises, and it now operates in both London and New York. Matador Europe supervises the promotion, sales and marketing of Matador titles in Europe. The London-based office has also licensed recordings from some North American artists, such as M. Ward, Sleater-Kinney, Modest Mouse, and Superchunk. The roster has grown with the label, and Matador has helped artists such as Yo La Tengo, Cat Power, Cornelius, Solex, Pizzicato Five, Helium and the Arsonists reach audiences worldwide.[1]

In the early 2000s, Matador had to sidestep unwanted involvement in the Recording Industry Association of America dispute over peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Matador's Patrick Amory contacted the RIAA multiple times in order to ensure that an erroneous listing on the group's website of Matador as an RIAA member was removed. After several attempts, the name of the independent label was removed from the membership list.[citation needed] Despite Matador's removal from the RIAA list, four of the label's albums have been certified Gold for sales of at least 500,000 units by the association: Exile in Guyville and Whip-Smart by Liz Phair and Turn on the Bright Lights and Antics by Interpol.[2]

Matador acquired True Panther Sounds as an imprint in 2009. Cosloy, speaking through the Matador blog, stated that True Panther Sounds "will continue to be managed by label founder Dean Bein." And that the reason Matador acquired True Panther Sounds was simply, "As Victor Kiam once explained his decision to purchase the Remington Shaver operation, “I liked it so much, I bought the company.”[3] The first joint venture by the two labels was Girls’ debut critically acclaimed release ‘Album’ and was "worked through Matador’s fearsome promotional & marketing machinery."[3]

In October 2010, Matador celebrated the label's 21st anniversary with a series of concerts at the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Pavement, Yo La Tengo, the New Pornographers, Spoon, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Guided By Voices, Kurt Vile, Cold Cave, Fucked Up, Liz Phair, Shearwater, Superchunk, Come, Times New Viking, Belle & Sebastian, Cat Power, Chavez, Perfume Genius, Harlem, and Guitar Wolf were amongst the participants. During the event Many of the artists stated their opinions and admiration of Matador. Damian Abraham, of Fucked Up, said that not only did Matador give them credibility as a band but also, "There were a lot of people who thought of us as that band with the swear word that yells, but Matador signing us was like, 'No, no, no, it's okay -- give it a second look.' We fell ass-backwards into being on one of the top indie labels of all time." Mike Hadreas said, "To me, signing to Matador was like getting into a really good school." 'It's a hard thing to talk about without resorting to clichés, but Matador really loves music,' said Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo.

Matador has continued to sign bands of various genres including Iceage, Lower, Algiers, Majical Cloudz, Car Seat Headrest and Snail Mail.[4]

Current artists[edit]

Past artists[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Matador Records discography at Discogs
  2. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA: Matador Records". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Cosloy, Gerard (November 4, 2009). "True Panther Sounds & Matador : A Love Story (With Legal Bills)". Matador Records. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  4. ^ "Matador Records". Matador Records. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  5. ^ "Matador Alumni". Matador Records. Archived from the original on October 5, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015.

External links[edit]