Modular Recordings

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Modular Recordings
Parent company Universal Music Australia
Founded 1998 (1998)
Founder Steve Pavlovic
Distributor(s) Universal Music Australia
Genre Rock, electronica, electropop, neo-psychedelia, psychedelic rock
Country of origin Australia
Location Sydney
Official website

Modular Recordings is an Australian record label. It was established by Sydney-based music promoter Steve Pavlovic as a joint-venture with EMI, but is now distributed (and half-owned) by Universal Music Australia. Modular has released recordings by local artists such as Eskimo Joe, Ben Lee, The Avalanches, Wolfmother, Cut Copy, The Bumblebeez, Van She, Rocket Science, Ghostwood, The Presets, Pond and Tame Impala, as well as local releases of international artists including Dom, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Chromeo, Colder, Klaxons (The EP Xan Valleys), Ladyhawke, New Young Pony Club, MSTRKRFT, and Softlightes.


Founded in 1998 by Sydney concert promoter Steve Pavlovic.[1] The label came to prominence in late 1998 with its first two releases, The Living End's eponymous debut album and Ben Lee's Breathing Tornados.[1] Both albums were "roaring successes",[1] The Living End became the second (at the time) highest-selling debut rock album in Australian music history; Breathing Tornados was nominated for the "Album of the Year" ARIA Award. The label's next release the Avalanches's Since I Left You (2000) was a huge critical success,[2] earning the group nine ARIA Award nominations.

In 2004, with the emergence of new acts Cut Copy, The Presets and The Bumblebeez and the development of regular Modular parties and tours, the label began to grow and Modular came to prominence in the Australian scene. It became known for 'electronic, rock-leaning dance music' called the "Modular sound" during this period. Dan Whitford of Cut Copy described it as 'discovering dance music played live with a more musical aesthetic, rather than just a DJ on stage'.[3] In 2004 an office was established in New York, followed by a London office in 2005. Van She, a new wave electropop four piece from Sydney were signed in August 2005.[1] Mid 2006 modular signed London’s New Young Pony Club. An office in Los Angeles followed in 2007, along with the signing of new acts including Ghostwood, Plug-In City and The Whitest Boy Alive.


In June 2015, Modular Recordings and its partner Universal Music Australia was sued by BMG Rights Management for failing to honor an agreement made over $1 million worth in royalties from Tame Impala recordings, including the critically acclaimed Innerspeaker and Lonerism albums and the group's self-titled EP.[4][5] Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker himself claimed in a Reddit Ask Me Anything chat that 'Someone high up spent the money before it got to [him]', and that he 'may never get that money'.[6]

Universal Music Australia claims that on Christmas Eve 2014 Modular Recordings owner Steve Pavlovic agreed to sign a separation deal, under which he would give it his half of Modular, together with music, trademarks, websites and other assets. It claims that since then Pavlovic has welshed on the deal, refusing to transfer the shares or hand over some assets. Pavlovic claims the deal was never binding and he is still owed $32,500 in holiday pay from Universal. Pavlovic resigned from Modular on March 11 and most of the roster of musicians appear to have been dispersed elsewhere within Universal.[5]

Modular Recordings' website is currently closed for renovations.[7]

Past artists[edit]

Selected discography[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Jam, James (2006-09-16). "We Heart Modular". New Music Press, pp. 16–17.

External links[edit]